February 18, 2016
Payback is a bitch–especially when dished out by the Pope! For years Donald Trump has questioned President Obama’s Christian faith. In fact, “question” is too mild. Trump, when not waging his racist birther campaign, tried his best to paint Obama as a Muslim.
For example in 2011, Trump stated on Obama’s failure at that time to produce his long form birth certificate: “He may have one, but there's something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim."
In 2012, Trump tweeted: “Does Madonna know something we all don't about Barack? At a concert she said "we have a black Muslim in the White House."
And just two weeks ago when Obama made his first U.S. mosque visit, Trump commented, “maybe he feels comfortable there."
But when the Pope now suggests that Trump is not a Christian because of his heartless views about Latino immigrants, he loses it! (And add to that Trump has also questioned the religious beliefs of both Ben Carson and Ted Cruz.)
So what did the Pope say exactly about Trump? Well when his Holiness was asked about Trump vowing to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the US-Mexican border, he responded: “A person who thinks only about building walls...and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
But the Pope then qualified his remarks by saying, “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.” Adding, “We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”
Trump’s response to these comments was not only laughably hypocritical given what he had done to Obama, but actually on the verge of being unhinged. (Which is par for the course with Trump lately- even Rush Limbaugh said this week that Trump has “emotional incontinence” and was out of control at last week’s GOP debate.)
Trump responded by first calling the Pope’s words “disgraceful.” But then he added bizarrely and what almost seems like Trump’s fantasy revenge plot: “If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS...I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened.”
First off what does ISIS attacking Rome have to do with building a wall on the US-Mexican border?! Anyone?! It’s gibberish but it’s still alarming that Trump is saying if he isn’t elected President, the Pope could be killed.
For a guy struggling to prove he has the temperament to be President, lashing out that the Pontiff doesn’t help. And instead of Trump backing down, his supporters are doubling down. Alarmingly Trump’s supporters have been spewing vile anti-Catholic and anti-Pope remarks in the comments sections of articles about the story.
And then in a stunning display of intellectual dishonesty, Trump’s minions are claiming that the Vatican has a wall so why can’t America? Hey geniuses, the Pope was using a metaphor. When he said, “A person who thinks only about building walls...and not building bridges,” do you think the Pope was also demanding that Trump build a “bridge”?
Of course not. Pope Francis was using a metaphor- just like we see so often in the Bible, a book I doubt Trump knows much about. For example lets look at this famous Biblical metaphor where Jesus stated: “I am the Light of the world.” (John 8:12) Was Jesus boasting that he’s a huge table lamp that when switches on is like the sun plus ten?! Think of his electric bills?!
The Pope was clearly saying that the hate Trump has spewed about Mexicans is not following the teachings of Jesus Christ. After all the Pope was on a flight home from Mexico and had just celebrated a mass approximately 300 feet from the US-Mexico border.
So is the Pope right that a man who has spewed lies about Mexicans (calling them “rapists”) and who wants to rip 11 million undocumented immigrants including children out of their homes and deport them is not following the teachings of Jesus Christ? Well I for one will defer to his Holiness on this.
Will Trump’s slamming of the Pope hurt him politically? Not according to Sean Hannity who thinks that Trump will get a three or four point bump in the polls from this incident. Hannity argues that any time a foreign leader gets involved U.S. politics that is what typically happens.
That may happen. But what Hannity is missing- among many other things – was Trump’s response. If Trump had simply stated, “Well I respectfully disagree with the Pope,” he very well could be correct. But I doubt Trump gets a bump for slamming a wildly popular Pope for simply calling for him to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
We will all know in a few days how this plays out, but I bet Trump is thinking of adding the Pope to his promised Muslim ban.
Dean Obeidallah is the Editor of The Dean's Report, host of SiriusXM radio's "The Dean Obeidallah Show" and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter.
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