Trump's Heir Preaches Ethic of Jesus Is an Obstacle

Peter Wehner sees speech as a proclamation of GOP politics of no mercy
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2021 6:12 PM CST
Trump's Heir Preaches Ethic of Jesus Is an Obstacle
Donald Trump Jr., shown at a rally in September,   (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

(Newser) – In a political, angrier version of "nice guys finish last"—or at least, "nice guys finish second"—Donald Trump Jr. told a convention earlier this month that following the teachings of Jesus has "gotten us nothing." To a Turning Point USA audience, Trump said his team needs a harder approach, a Republican justice untempered by mercy. "We've been playing T-ball for half a century while they’re playing hardball and cheating, right? We've turned the other cheek," adding, "I understand the mentality—but it's gotten us nothing. OK? It's gotten us nothing while we’ve ceded ground in every major institution in our country."

In an opinion piece in the Atlantic, Peter Wehner sees Trump's words as a proclamation that "the scriptures are essentially a manual for suckers." The need to win politically includes the need to crush your opponents, not just defeat them, he writes. The teachings of Jesus might just be in the way of that pursuit. "If the ethic of Jesus encourages sensibilities that might cause people in politics to act a little less brutally, a bit more civilly, with a touch more grace? Then it needs to go," says Wenher, who worked for the three Republican presidents before Donald Trump. Wenher isn't the only one worried about that political future.

In its abandonment by party leaders, turning the other cheek now joins "other 'soft' Christian teachings like forgiveness (which Trump Sr. once said he didn't need), equality, the nobility of those suffering from poverty or disabilities, and a holy fear of self-righteousness," Ed Kilgore writes in the Intelligencer. He argued the point that "this distorted Christianity" hasn't worked for the Trumps. "It has 'gotten them' the White House for four years, dominion over one of America's two major political parties, and saddest of all, the especially devoted support of so many conservative followers of the Prince of Peace, who are willing to dismiss the savior's teachings as T-ball," Kilgore writes. You can read Wehner's full piece here and Kilgore's here.)

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