Trump Gonna Have A Civil War Or A Hissy Fit, Whichever Is Easiest
Donald Trump advised Democrats this weekend to lay off all the impeachment talk -- not for his own sake, but for the nation's. He tweeted an extended diatribe from religious crackpot Robert Jeffress, which culminated with the ominous warning: "....If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War (a go-go) like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal." Trump added the "which they never will be." I added the "a go-go."
Jeffress sounded the alarm on the Sunday school edition of "Fox & Friends." He took offense at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement that Democrats should be "somber" and "prayerful" while moving forward with impeachment. He said Pelosi reminded him of a "pyromaniac with a match in hand about to set fire to a building, saying, 'Please pray with me that the damage I'm about to cause isn't too severe.'"
Co-host Jedediah Bila asked Jeffress how his fellow evangelicals felt about an "impending potential" impeachment. Jeffress responded with over-the-top melodrama, like the book of Revelation read at a piano bar. All his sentences should begin and end with "girlfriend."
JEFFRESS: Look, I don't pretend to speak for all evangelicals but this week I have been traveling the country and I've literally spoken to thousands and thousands of evangelical Christians.
I literally doubt that. It's not possible to speak to so many evangelical Christians in just a few days, especially if they're from the South. You'd spend most of that time discussing Miss Hattie's biscuit recipe.
JEFFRESS: I have never seen them more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this president from office, overturn the 2016 election and negate the votes of millions of evangelicals in the process.
Not this shit again. Impeachment doesn't "overturn" an election. The millions of evangelicals who mistook their Bibles for a Jackie Collins novel and voted for Donald Trump also selected Mike Pence. The vice president is the substitute religious bigot in their presidential Instacart order.
Dr. Robert Jeffress on Pelosi calling for prayer over Dems pursuit to impeachment President youtu.be
JEFFRESS: And I do want to make this prediction this morning: If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, I'm afraid it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal.
Trump dropped the "I'm afraid" from Jeffress's Sunday morning Sturm und Drang. You could dismiss the pastor's rantings as heat-of-the-moment hyperbole, but it's a well-rehearsed routine. He performed the same material a few days earlier on Lou Dobbs.
JEFFRESS: I've never seen Christians as angry about anything as they are about the intent to remove this president from office.
C'mon, Jeffress was born in the 1950s so he's bound to have seen evangelical Christians when their neighborhoods and schools were integrated.
JEFFRESS: I really don't like what's gonna happen to this nation if the Dems and RINOs succeed in removing him from office. He's the most pro-life, pro-religious liberty, pro-conservative judiciary president we have had in history, and if he is removed, this country is finished. It's time for Christians to stand up and say, 'We're as mad as H-E-L-L and we're not gonna put up with this any longer!'
I'm not sure you're really mad as hell if you're still spelling out the word "hell." Jeffress is operating under Puritan broadcast standards and practices. You can still say "hell" in "The Good Place."
Republican House Rep. Adam Kinzinger said it was "beyond repugnant" for the president to repeat Jeffress's Civil War comment, and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said Trump's tweets were "frightening."
MURPHY: He is going to keep talking like this, and some people are going to listen and do what he asks.
During the 2008 presidential race, Republican strategist Rick Wilson ran ads linking Barack Obama to his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Wilson's stated goal was to "scare the living shit out of white people in Pennsylvania and Ohio." I don't know many Democrats, especially black people, who are afraid of Robert Jeffress. If you told me an army of evangelicals like Jeffress were coming for us if we impeached Donald Trump, I'd just shrug and say, "So?"
The president's daughter-in-law Lara Trump offered an even emptier threat this weekend on Twitter.
Oh no! All that empty red space might get real mad if Democrats impeach Trump! The even emptier space between Lara Trump's ears expressed shock and disgust over the "Impeach the MF" T-shirts that Rep. Rashida Tlaib is selling (and I just bought). Lara asked Fox's Stuart Varney to imagine a scenario where the Trump campaign would ever do something like this. That's not too hard when Trump's 2016 campaign actually sold "Hillary For Prison" buttons and T-shirts depicting Hillary Clinton in striped pantsuits. She should stick with rhetorical devices that require us to imagine Trump himself, his campaign, or his administration doing something honest and ethical. That's more likely to lack any existing precedent.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.