Donald J. Trump has just selected Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead a task force aimed at overhauling public education policy.
The president of the United States has linked arms with the head of a leading faith-based university; Falwell also is the son of the late televangelist who used his pulpit to attack President and Mrs. Bill Clinton throughout the president’s two terms in office.
This appointment brings to mind a curiosity I’ve harbored ever since Trump entered political life, which is when he announced his candidacy for president in June 2015.
My question of the moment is this: How does this man, Trump, continue to win the support of many within the Christian evangelical movement?
Falwell Jr. has called Trump a “dream come true” for evangelicals. He just cannot say enough gushy things about the president, who delivered his first commencement speech at Liberty University, the school that Falwell’s father founded.
If you think about it, though, the relationship strains credulity to the max.
Trump has not been known as a major contributor to religious causes; he hasn’t been associated with faith-based charities; his whole life has been filled with glitz and glamor, chiefly through his association with and ownership of beauty pageants; he is married to his third wife and has boasted publicly about his infidelity involving his first two marriages; Trump also has boasted about how he can grab women by the p**** because his celebrity status allows him to do it.
But he’s tough on Muslims, vows to destroy the Islamic State, wants to impose a travel ban on refugees coming here from Muslim-majority nations. Maybe that’s why Falwell and many within the evangelical community are smitten by the president.
I concede that political alliances can take form among groups or individuals one might not imagine banding together. This one, though, baffles me greatly.
The president’s history is full of episodes that would seem to send devoutly religious voters scurrying for someone more, um, to their liking.
Go figure. I cannot fathom it.