The editor-in-chief at Christianity Today, a publication founded by evangelist Billy Graham, asserts President Donald Trump “should be removed from office.”
Mark Galli writes that, while “Democrats have had it out” for Trump “from day one,” a reality that places his impeachment “under a cloud of partisan suspicion,” nevertheless:
The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.
Galli states Americans are actually not “shocked” by this behavior because Trump “has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration.” He writes:
He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.
Galli parts ways with Trump’s many evangelical supporters whom, he says, boast of the president’s Supreme Court and other federal court nominees, as well as his steady defense of religious freedom, and his efforts to bring unemployment to all-time lows.
Nothing positive Trump has done or accomplished, however, he says, is of any consequence given what he claims is the president’s “grossly immoral character”:
We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.
Galli likens his condemnation of Trump to statements Christianity Today made about former President Bill Clinton in 1998:
Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.
Galli next takes to task his fellow evangelicals:
To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?
Though claiming Christianity Today has “reserved judgment” on Trump and exercised “patient charity,” the editor ultimately asserts, “[I]t’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence.”