During a COVID super-spreader MAGA rally this afternoon in Greenville, North Carolina, Donald Trump attempted to win over his religious base, I guess, by saying he was only the second most famous person in the world because Jesus edged him out.
"Someone said to me the other day, 'you're the most famous person in the world by far.' I said, 'no I'm not' … they said, 'who's more famous?' I said, 'Jesus Christ'" — Trump pic.twitter.com/KaGTYIHdxO
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 15, 2020
… Someone said to me the other day, “You’re the most famous person in the world by far.” I said, “No, I’m not. No I’m not.”
They said, “Yes you are.”
I said, “No.”
They said, “Who’s more famous?”
I said, “Jesus Christ.” [Audience cheers]
I’m not taking any chances! I’m not gonna have… I’m not having any arguments! Jesus Christ! I’m not gonna take any chances… And let me look up and I’ll say, “And it’s not even close.”
It’s a weird way to pander to religious conservatives, by acknowledging that their prophet has somewhat greater name recognition, but this is the same guy who thought tear-gassing people in order to hold up a Bible that wasn’t his outside a church he didn’t attend would be a PR coup. He’s used to being surrounded by white evangelicals who’ll give him plenty of credit for doing virtually nothing. So saying the name “Jesus Christ” like he’s Jimmy Buffett playing the first notes of “Margaritaville,” then basking in the cheers, is pretty much on brand.
None of that’s true, by the way. No one told him he’s famous, there’s no ranking system in play, and even if there was, Jesus would not be at the top of the list. (Of all the ways Trump is #2, this ain’t it.)
Trump knows he needs votes from conservative Christians, though. It’s why Eric Trump said, falsely, last week that his daddy “literally saved Christianity.”
Meanwhile, it seems like at least a few Christians are catching on. The latest poll from the Pew Research Center finds that Trump’s support among white evangelicals is lower than it was in 2016 — and even lower than it was this summer. Not by much, to be sure, but a slight drop among his base could be disastrous in states where the race is tight.
Saying Jesus is famous — rather than taking actions that would benefit people’s lives — isn’t going to win support outside his base. And right now, rather than trying to build support he doesn’t have, he’s just enjoying the adulation from voters he already has on his side. It’s a waste of time. I can only hope that’s how it plays out in a few weeks.