Donald Trump has certainly drawn in the crowds lately. At an event over the weekend his campaign was forced to relocate to a larger arena and set up free shuttles for attendees. Trump, surveying the crowd as he started his speech, remarked, “I know how Billy Graham felt.”
Normally, I would assume Trump was just being metaphorical. He was clearly wowed by the level of devotion his supporters showed, and Billy Graham is pretty much synonymous with large, passionate crowds. Trump didn’t stop there, however, going on to name his favorite book:
Trump also said, “What’s my favorite book? The Bible! The Bible. … We take the Bible all the way,” according to The Washington Post’s national political reporter Robert Costa, who tweeted the Republican candidate’s remarks.
Whoa. Full stop. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that Donald Trump, like Billy Graham, has shown a remarkable ability to reach people with his fiery speeches, but the resemblance ends there. Graham’s outreach was made all the more remarkable by one major defining trait: humility and repentance before God. Trump, whatever his other charms, is a larger-than-life personality, and it’s hard to imagine him asking anyone for forgiveness, a fact he seems rather proud of:
Asked whether he has ever asked God to forgive him, Trump responded, “I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”
He further explained, “When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed. I think in terms of ‘let’s go on and let’s make it right.'”
I’m sorry, Mr. Trump, but repentance is supposed to come BEFORE the “little wine” and “little cracker.” I admire Trump for a lot of things: his charisma and blunt talk have forced the Republican Party to talk about a lot of issues that we might otherwise have swept under the rug. But if he happens to re-read his favorite book this year, I hope he takes note of one of my favorite passages: “pride goeth before the fall.”
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.