It’s tough to be a Donald Trump supporter. You have to lie all the time — with a lot of passion — and that can get exhausting. And right-wing Pastor Robert Jeffress knows what it means to be exhausted for Trump, given that he’s now practically inciting a new civil war.
It started last week when he went on FOX News to say that if Democrats were successful in removing Trump from office, “I’m afraid it will cause a civil war-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal.”
That could just be rhetoric, but it’s also wrong. It suggests that we aren’t already going through one, as if we’re all currently united.
… The specter of a president obliquely predicting violence in response to an investigation caused predictable consternation in Washington. But Jeffress, for his part, has only doubled down. The next day, in an interview with Todd Starnes on Fox’s Todd Starnes Show, he said he had chosen his words carefully, and was neither predicting nor advocating for a new civil war.
On Monday evening an anchor on the Christian Broadcasting Network, an outlet whose reporting is often friendly to Trump, asked Jeffress to expand on his Civil War comments. Was it really a good idea to compare a constitutional legal inquiry to four years of sustained bloodshed? “It was a perfect idea,” Jeffress replied. Critics of the statement, Jeffress said, either can’t read or are “too stupid” to understand what he meant.
That’s Trumpian Damage Control 101: Deny you said the thing (even though screenshots and live transcripts are forever). Double down on the lack of intelligence in your critics. And then claim your words, quoted verbatim, were taken “out of context” or something to that effect.
Needless to say, calling for bloodshed — even jokingly — is no laughing matter anymore. We’ve already seen people act out violently in Trump’s name. The fact that such violence violates the whole “turn the other cheek” idea doesn’t seem to bother them. Why would it? It’s not like the pastor they constantly see on TV emphasizes the Bible.