With Valentine’s Day finally here, you could say love is in the air. Or at least, “Love is trending.” Sadly for the country, and perhaps the world, Donald Trump apparently doesn’t understand the word “love.” Seemingly lacking basic human empathy, mocking the disabled being just one example, Trump appears incapable of giving or receiving love. (Though he’s very skilled at doling out vicious nicknames of his perceived enemies.)
Recently Trump hosted a National Prayer Breakfast where the subject of love figured prominently. Convened on the first Thursday in February, the tradition began with Eisenhower in 1953. It’s always been a place for the chief executive to talk about his faith and a bipartisan opportunity for new friends and old associates, to break bread and forge fellowship in Jesus’ name.
But, as he does with almost everything, Trump turned the Prayer Breakfast into a self-aggrandizing political rally. I don’t think he even mentioned Jesus’ name. He rarely goes to church and on the few occasions he quotes from the bible, Trump mangles the wording so it’s obvious he never reads from the holy book. (Why would he, his name is not in there.)
Remember during a press gaggle on the White House lawn when Trump looked toward heaven, and referred to himself as “the Chosen One?” He was telling us that God had chosen him to be our dear leader. (Given his insatiable ego, I’m surprised Trump gave God first billing.)
Instead of demonstrating genuine faith, Trump repeatedly boasts, “I’ve done more for Christians than any president in history.” Trump calls these grandiose statements “truthful hyperbole.” (Though“hyperbole” is by definition not truthful.) Other examples include, “I know more than the Generals,” “I’m like really rich,” and “I’m a stable genius.”
But ask yourself, does Warren Buffet crow about his billions? Did Einstein boast about his I.Q.? (I suspect part of Trump’s refusal to show his tax returns is he’s not the multi-billionaire he claims he is.)
The National Prayer Breakfast has grown steadily over the years – from 400 attendees to close to 4,000. By custom it’s a respite from partisan bickering but Trump shattered that tradition with red meat remarks he tossed allies but, in so doing, justifiably offended some prominent faith leaders.
“The Prayer Breakfast is the last place for political attacks on opponents,” said Rev. Tom Lambrecht, of the United Methodist magazine Good News. “Our country would benefit from a return to the civility and grace reflected in Jesus’ words.” (Trump, civility and grace?! Good luck.)
Actually, Trump set the partisan tone even before speaking – holding up two newspapers with the headline “ACQUITTED.” (Even though he’s the only POTUS in history to have been voted guilty by a member of his own party.)
The breakfast began with an invocation of sorts from Arthur Brooks, a distinguished Harvard professor and president of a conservative think tank. He decried a “crisis of contempt and polarization” and urged attendees to “love your enemies.” Almost immediately, Trump turned his back on Brooks.
When Trump spoke to the group he not only disagreed with Brooks, he essentially disagreed with Jesus. Far from love, he raged against Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney. He mocked Romney’s emotional explanation that it was his oath sworn to God that prompted his vote to find Trump guilty in the first ever “no witnesses” Senate impeachment trial. He said self-righteously, “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.”
Rather ironic that it was at a prayer breakfast, Trump then attacked Pelosi for… praying! “Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that’s not so.” Later, Pelosi countered, t”I don’t know if the president understands prayer or people who pray.”
It’s well documented that Trump doesn’t follow a basic tenet of Christianity, praying to God for forgiveness for one’s sins. “Why would I pray? If I make a mistake, I just fix it,” says the POTUS who seemingly violates at least half the Ten Commandments on a daily basis.
In typical Trump incoherence, he leapfrogged to the subject of Republican Congressman Steve Scalise who, in 2017, was shot and almost killed during practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. Trump recounted going to the hospital and was amazed at how inconsolable Scalise’s wife was. “Most wives wouldn’t give a damn,” Trump said flippantly. Disturbingly, many in this evangelical crowd, actually laughed. (Then again, many at Jonestown drank the Kool-Aid.)
So, at a Prayer Breakfast, Trump mocked those who pray and swear an oath to God. And he says most wives wouldn’t give a damn if their husbands died. Shameless. Unless of course, Trump was talking about his wives, in which case, it’s probably true. Given his monstrous ego, if Trump sent out a Valentine’s card, my guess is it was probably to himself.
Jack is at: facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org