A new anti-Trump conservative super PAC, the Lincoln Project, released a political ad this week, taking aim at evangelical Christians. "The MAGA Church" video begins with a quote from Matthew 7:15:
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
In the background listeners can hear President Donald Trump’s words from his recent Evangelicals for Trump rally in Florida.
“Evangelicals, Christians of every denomination and believers of every faith have never had a greater champion — not even close — in the White House,” Trump says.
The Lincoln Project spends the next few minutes of video footage arguing against that claim. The super PAC juxtaposes footage of prominent white evangelical leaders praising the president with derogatory and violent quotes from Trump himself, with the assumed aim of illuminating a religious hypocrisy among Trump-voting Christians.
“I have never seen a more biblical president than I have seen in Donald Trump,” Michele Bachman says as a gospel track plays in the background.
Then the video cuts to Trump using a less righteous tone: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
White evangelicals make up a significant portion of Trump’s base. According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of white evangelicals approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president as of January 2019 (down only 9 percent since 2017). But recently, a Christianity Today editorial pushing for the removal of Trump from office may have revealed a crack in the wall of white evangelical support. It appears the Lincoln Project is working to widen that gap.
The super PAC’s advisors include several prominent Republicans including attorney George Conway, the husband of Kellyanne Conway, and Jennifer Horn, the former Chairman of the NH Republican Party and the first Republican woman in New Hampshire nominated for federal office.
On its website, the Lincoln Project asserts that they maintain policy differences with Democrats, but they cannot in good conscience support a Trump re-election:
“[T]he priority for all patriotic Americans must be a shared fidelity to the Constitution and a commitment to defeat those candidates who have abandoned their constitutional oaths, regardless of party. Electing Democrats who support the Constitution over Republicans who do not is a worthy effort.”
As the video begins to wrap up, viewers see a clip of Paula White saying, “To say no to President Trump would be saying no to God.”
Red text emerges on the screen as the gospel music crescendos: “If this is the best American Christians can do? Then God help us all.”