Jeb Bush made some pretty strong statements today about Donald Trump’s status as a Christian, a point that is sure to continue to haunt Trump throughout his campaign in a party overrun by the Religious Right.
Jeb’s remarks came in the wake of the endorsement of Donald Trump by Liberty University president and founder of the now-defunct Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell. After a campaign rally, reporters asked Jeb if he believed Trump was a Christian.
“No, I don’t know what he is,” he said. “I don’t think he has the kind of relationship he says he has if he can’t explain it any way that shows he is serious about it.”
Trump’s religious beliefs are being questioned on individual issues that have long been supported by the Religious Right, which often shapes GOP political stances. For instance, while the Right lands clearly on the pro-life side, Donald Trump made statements in the past that he is firmly pro-choice.
Trump says that he has since changed his views, but the earlier statements are popping up in political attack ads against him, making Falwell’s endorsement rather perplexing. Apparently, Jeb was confused by it, as well.
“Trump views all this not from a position of his faith, he views it all as politics. I think faith goes way beyond politics…For a guy who has stated he has never sought forgiveness, it’s hard to imagine how someone who is a strong believer would embrace that idea. There may be other reasons that Mr Falwell is supporting him.”
It is difficult to imagine that this point will not continue to haunt Trump throughout his campaign, particularly if Trump actually becomes the GOP nominee. In any normal election cycle, Trump’s unreliable record of statements on the GOP’s favorite whipping post that isn’t named Obama – Roe v Wade – would be enough to make him all but impossible to elect as the nominee.
This, however, has been no normal election cycle.