In 2016, Trump Promised That Christianity Would Have Power If He Was Elected

SophieL

In January 2016, Trump made a potent promise in a campaign speech at a Christian college in Iowa.

The New York Times recently wrote about a campaign speech that then-candidate Donald Trump made at Dordt University in 2016 promising that “Christianity will have power.”

  • “I have the most loyal people,” Trump had said, gaining significant press. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”
  • However, a message about Christianity’s power was overshadowed by Trump’s characterization of loyalty. In the Sioux Center, Trump said that Christians, the majority of the country, “don’t exert the power that we should have.”
  • Trump promised the Christian college: “If I’m there, you’re going to have plenty of power, you don’t need anybody else. You’re going to have somebody representing you very, very well. Remember that.”
  • By November 2016, 81 percent of the county voted for Trump, along with 81 percent of white evangelical voters nationwide. 

With prevalent critiques of Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, white evangelical Christians may be his best chance at re-election.

  • Despite his dipping approval rating, 82 percent of white evangelicals say they intend to vote for Trump.
  • Evangelical support stems from the opportunity to end legal abortion, nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court, the desire to be protected by Trump’s promise. 
  • White, straight, middle-class, middle-American Christians became “the one group left that you could just totally put down and call deplorable,” said Lisa Burg, who lives near Orange City. “I think people finally said, ‘Yes, we finally have somebody that’s willing to say we’re not bad, we need to have a voice too.’”
  • Church holds the community around Sioux Center together, and local residents aim to maintain conservative values, small government, and traditional nuclear families. 
  • Local residents explain that America began as a Christian nation, and they view Trump’s presidency as key to continue these Christian values for their children, to restore Christian freedoms in America.
  • Nationwide demonstrations about police brutality have not changed sentiments in Sioux Center about Trump, as the population is less than 1 percent Black. Neither has the president’s COVID-19 response, since only three people in the county are reported to have died from the illness. 
  • The Trump era reflects the fusion of evangelical Christianity and conservative politics.
  • The recent press of Trump holding up a Bible at St. John’s Episcopal Church amidst tear gassing and rubber bullets sends this message of Christian power, as “Trump was standing up for Christianity,” according to resident Micah Schouten.

Tim Miller tweeted this article with a focus on the quote from a Sioux City resident and Trump supporter: “Mike Pence is a wonderful gentleman, I’d say he is like the very supportive, submissive wife to Trump. He does the hard work, and the husband gets the glory.”

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