Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson said evangelicals who supported President Donald Trump were “slimy political operatives, not moral leaders.”
Partial transcript as follows:
BRENNAN: Michael, I want to ask you. You just wrote an in-depth piece about sort of the struggle within — as you see it, the search for the soul of the evangelical movement in many ways. You say they have lost their interest in decency. What do you think the evangelicals who support President Trump make of the Stormy Daniels scandal?
GERSON: Well, I think that it is the height of hypocrisy. And we saw it with Roy Moore as well.
If any other Democratic president had been guilty of what is alleged in these cases, evangelicals would be, you know, off the reservation.
This is a case where their morality seems to be determined by their politics. And they have ceased to be moral leaders in that sense. It’s — it was a tough choice for many evangelicals between Hillary Clinton and the president. And I understand that.
But they have been the most sycophantic element of the Republican coalition, which was — is unnecessary. They have not provided that moral judgment that I think leavens our politics or should leaven our politics.
And so I have done this piece in “The Atlantic” essentially arguing that they have — they are betraying a great tradition. Evangelicalism really has had a good tradition. And now they are really undermining that reputation of their faith.
BRENNAN: But, in that judgment, you are saying the transactional part of this relationship isn’t worth the trade-off?
GERSON: Well, they are acting like, you know, slimy political operatives, not moral leaders.
They are essentially saying, in order to get benefits for themselves, in a certain way — they talk about religious liberty and other issues — but to get benefits for themselves, they are willing to wink at Stormy Daniels and wink at misogyny and wink at nativism.
And that, I think, is deeply discrediting, not just in a political sense, but actually in a moral and religious sense.
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