Christian Editor Doubles Down on Trump as Being ‘Morally Unfit’

Daniel Flatley

(Bloomberg) -- The editor-in-chief of evangelical magazine “Christianity Today” doubled down Sunday on his rebuke of Donald Trump.

Mark Galli appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” days after arguing in an editorial that Trump should be removed from office because the nation’s trust was betrayed by his attempts to “use his political power to coerce a foreign leader” to discredit one of his political opponents.

“I am making a moral judgment that he is morally unfit, or, even more precisely, it’s his public morality that makes him unfit,” Galli told CBS.

The magazine was founded by the late Reverend Billy Graham, whose son Franklin Graham is a major backer of Trump. The younger Graham and other leading figures in the evangelical movement closed ranks around the president Friday, and the president’s re-election campaign announced a new “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition.

‘Great Gratitude’

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, said Sunday that Trump’s support among evangelical voters is mostly unshaken.

“Christians are not monolithic in their political viewpoints, but there is a lot of us who look at what this administration has done and take great gratitude that he’s our president,” Short said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The chances of Trump being removed “either by election or Senate are actually probably fairly slim,” Galli concluded on CBS. “What I’m really arguing in the piece, fundamentally, is that the president is unfit for office.”

What’s the Trade-Off?

Galli said he wasn’t making a judgment on private morality, since, basically, nobody’s perfect: “But to judge his moral -- his public moral character and ask, has he gone so far that the evangelical constituency that we represent, can we in good conscience do the trade-off any more?”

Trump on Friday dismissed “Christianity Today” as a “far left magazine ... which has been doing poorly.” That put the little-known theological periodical on the same footing as the “Failing New York Times” and other media outlets criticized by the president.

Galli on Friday described the publication as “pretty centrist” and usually not political. Its other current articles include “Black Protestants, Evangelicals Top Rankings for Longest Sermons” and “Is the Wisdom of Mary Unique for a Teenager?”

Trump also tweeted Friday that the magazine, which wrote critically about Democratic President Bill Clinton as he was going through a similar process in 1998, was “looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or those of the socialist/communist bent.”

Franklin Graham followed up on Twitter, saying his father, who died in 2018, believed Trump “was the man for this hour in history.”

Galli, who’s retiring from his position in January, suggested a new paradigm for the evangelical Christian community in 2020, when Trump is up for re-election against a yet-to-be-chosen Democrat.

“Take your interest in politics and put it aside for a moment and let’s start thinking about morality,” Galli said on CBS.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Flatley in Washington at dflatley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Kevin Miller

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.