Trump dismisses call for removal from 'far left' Christian magazine founded by Billy Graham
Christianity Today criticized Trump and evangelicals who support him
U.S. President Donald Trump is blasting a prominent Christian magazine that published an editorial arguing that he should be removed from office.
Trump tweeted Friday morning that the magazine, Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham, is a "far left" publication, which "has been doing poorly and hasn't been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years."
He added that it "knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call," a reference to his July call with the president of Ukraine that led to his impeachment. Trump claimed the magazine would rather have "a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President."
In the editorial, titled, "Trump Should Be Removed from Office," the magazine's editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, writes that, "Democrats have had it out for" Trump "from day one." But Galli said that "the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president's political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral."
Galli went on to write that whether Trump should be removed by the Senate or by popular vote in the 2020 election "is a matter of prudential judgment." But, Galli said: "That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments."
The magazine's editorial also criticized Democrats for what it said was an effort to take down Trump since he took office, but it concluded that did not justify the president's actions.
"To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve," it said. "Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Saviour."
Franklin Graham a staunch supporter
The editorial came one day after the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives made Trump the third president in American history to be impeached. It charged him with abuse of power in pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations of his Democratic rival, and with obstructing Congress in the ensuing investigation.
Trump said in his tweets that, "No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it's not even close." And he declared that he "won't be reading ET again!" using the wrong initials to describe the publication.
Trump is deeply popular among Evangelicals, with roughly seven in 10 white evangelical Protestants saying they approve of the way he is handling his job as president, according to Pew Research Center polling from earlier this year. Many prominent Evangelicals have stood by Trump, despite his complicated personal history, allegations of sexual misconduct, deeply divisive policies and profanity-laced comments. That includes Graham's son, Rev. Franklin Graham.
Asked Friday in an interview with CNN about the tweets, Galli said Trump's characterization of the magazine as far left was "far from accurate," but also said he is realistic about the impact of his words.
"I don't have any imagination that my editorial is going to shift their views on this matters," Galli said of those who support the president. "The fact of the matter is Christianity Today is not read by ... Christians on the far right, by evangelicals on the far right, so they're going to be as dismissive of the magazine as President Trump has shown to be."
Franklin Graham reaffirmed his support for Trump early Friday.
"I hadn't shared who my father voted for in 2016, but because of [the] article, I felt it necessary to share now. My father knew @realDonaldTrump, believed in him and voted for him. He believed Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation," he said.
With files from CBC News and Reuters