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Juan Williams: The GOP is embracing Christian nationalism

A recent controversy centered on President Trump is emblematic of a broader trend.

The evidence is piling up that former President Trump, the leading candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, is also the leader of a white, Christian nationalist movement.

Last week, he actively packaged anti-Semitism for Republicans.

America’s “wonderful [Christian] Evangelicals are far more appreciative,” of him than “the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S.,” he wrote on social media, before going on to praise Israeli Jews.

Trump also spoke to Kanye West last week and the two planned to go to dinner, according to a report from Politico, which cited “a person familiar with the call.”

West, who now refers to himself as ‘Ye,’ recently threatened to go “death con 3 on Jewish people.”

Trump’s anger at Jewish voters appears related to his 2017 order for the U.S. embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem — and what he sees as insufficient gratitude in return. 

He boasted that “No President has done more for Israel than I have.” Now he holds a grudge that most Jewish voters remain loyal Democrats.

Of course, American Jews and others living in the U.S. might notice that one segment of Christian evangelical support for Israel is based not on some reverence for Judaism itself, but on the idea that Christ will return to life in Israel and usher in the end times.

In a 2017 study, more than 50 percent of American evangelicals said that they supported Israel partly on the basis that the country was “important for fulfilling biblical prophecy.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R- Colo.) is also promoting a Trumpian mix of the political and the evangelical. Boebert last week told a GOP dinner in Tennessee that “many of us in this room believe that we are in the last of the last days…you get to be a part of ushering in the second coming of Jesus.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is similarly stirring evangelical passions. In February, he declared it was time for his political backers to “put on the full armor of God. Stand firm against the left’s schemes.” 

That was part of a pattern that prompted The Miami Herald to note the disturbing “overlap between Christian nationalism – and its nostalgia for our ‘Anglo-Protestant’ past — and white supremacy.”

But Trump dares to stand behind a candidate with a history of ties to anti-Semitism.

Trump endorsed Doug Mastriano, the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania. It turns out Mastriano’s campaign paid $5000 to a notorious right-wing social media platform, Gab. 

Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba, has “repeatedly made antisemitic remarks and said in one video that neither he nor Mr. Mastriano would give interviews to non-Christian journalists,” according to the New York Times.

Amid controversy, Mastriano said that Torba “doesn’t speak for me or my campaign” and added, “I reject anti-Semitism in any form.”

Trump knows that many of his own supporters embrace the so-called “Great Replacement Theory.” 

They see Jews engineering the replacement of white Christian voters by encouraging an influx of immigrants, specifically Black and Brown people. 

Let’s not forget that while Trump was president there was a spike in racial violence, including violence against Jews.

Robert Bowers, an alleged follower of neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites, is the sole suspect for killing 11 people and wounding six at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018. His trial has been set for next year.

Bowers’s chief complaint about Trump was allegedly that he was “a globalist, not a nationalist.”

In 2017, the year before the Pittsburgh attack, Trump famously declared there were “very fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville white supremacist march that featured chants of “Jews will not replace us.”

One of Trump’s most prominent loyalists, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), posted a bizarre conspiracy theory on social media in 2018 — admittedly, before she was elected to Congress — including the claim that space lasers associated with Jewish financiers may be causing the California wildfires.

The American right’s openness to anti-Semitism is nothing new.

In the 1990s, GOP presidential candidate and conservative writer Pat Buchanan famously declared that Capitol Hill was “Israeli-occupied territory.”

In fairness, some Democrats have flirted with anti-Semitism too.

In 2012, well before she was elected to Congress, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized the world” and was involved in “evil doings.”. 

Omar expressed regret in 2019. But there are no apologies from West or Trump.

And their hateful remarks coincide with a rise in hate crimes against Jewish people. 

The Anti-Defamation League reported more anti-Semitic incidents in 2021 than in any year since the organization began tracking such occurrences in 1979.

Who in the GOP will put a stop to this anti-Semitic hate speech as it steadily morphs into yet more hatred?

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

Tags Christian nationalism Donald Trump Juan Williams Kanye West Kanye West Marjorie Taylor Greene Ron DeSantis

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