Politics

Trump blasts Christian magazine founded by Billy Graham after it calls impeached president 'profoundly immoral'

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter against a Christian magazine founded by evangelical pastor Billy Graham after it called him "profoundly immoral" in an editorial headlined "Trump Should Be Removed from Office."
  • The Christianity Today piece was published on the heels of Trump's impeachment for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Trump's "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," the magazine said.
President Donald Trump reacts while speaking during a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, December 18, 2019.
Leah Millis | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Friday morning angrily lashed out against a Christian magazine founded by the late evangelical pastor Billy Graham after it called his actions "profoundly immoral" in an editorial headlined "Trump Should Be Removed from Office."

And Trump later claimed on Twitter, in response to the same damning editorial in Christianity Today, that "no President has ever done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!"

Christianity Today wrote that Trump — who has received very strong support from evangelical voters — "has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration" by hiring and firing "a number of people who are now convicted criminals," and by admitting "immoral actions in business and his relationships with women."

And the magazine said Trump's pressuring of Ukraine's president in a July phone call to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic contender for the presidency in 2020, "is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly it is profoundly immoral."

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Trump's request to Ukraine, which came as he was witholding congressionally appropriated military aid to that nation, led to his impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday.

"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," the magazine said in calling for Trump's ouster from the White House.

Trump used that Twitter feed to fire back at Christianity Today, calling it a "far left magazine, or very 'progressive' ... that knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President."

Trump then wrote that "I won't be reading ET again!," misspelling the initials of magazine, which Graham founded in 1956.

Bill Kristol, a conservative writer who is a harsh critic of Trump, noted in his own Twitter post that Trump in a 2013 tweet had said, "Sorry, not a believer!" when he was asked about the Christian maxim of turning the other cheek when a person smacks ones' right cheek.

Graham's son Franklin Graham, who is a backer of Trump, said in a Facebook post that his father, who died in February 2018, "would not agree with" Chritianity Today's opinion piece.

"In fact, would be very disappointed," Franklin Graham wrote.

"My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation," Franklin wrote.

"For Christianity Today to side with the Democrat Party in a totally partisan attack on the President of the United States is unfathomable."

The magazine, in its editorial, directly addressed evangelicals like Franklin Graham who have remained Trump supporters despite what the publication said was his immoral conduct.

"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," the editorial said.

"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?"

Trump later Friday tweeted a "thank you" to Franklin Graham, and claimed that "no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals or religion itself!"