The Church of Trump

By Cassandra Devereaux

On August 21, Donald Trump shared a quote from a right wing news outlet in order to shame American Jews who do not support him. It read:

“:…the Jewish people in Israel love [Trump] like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…. But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore.”

It is, of course, religiously illiterate to claim that Jews might see him as a second coming of a messiah they don’t believe had a first coming. And yes, “King of Israel” and “King of the Jews” both are titles used to refer to Jesus. The claim here is that to Isreali Jews, Donald Trump is regarded as Jesus Christ. This echoes the Evangelical Christian eschatological belief that in the end times, Jesus will convert the Jews and will establish a “New Jerusalem.” This is a popular “loophole” sort of reasoning that allows antisemites to nevertheless support Israel.

This tweet came amidst Trump’s smear campaign against congressional freshman Muslim women Rashida Talib and Ilhan Omar. Spitefully, he had pressured Israel to deny them entry. Even the rightly derided American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), lobbyist, fundraiser and enabler of the brutal settler colonial state and its project of genocide against the Palestinian people, criticized the move. Within this eschatological mythos, Jews who don’t repent and come to know Jesus will be cast into the lake of fire.

On the same day, when talking to reporters about the trade war with China, Trump looked to the skies and said, “I am the chosen one”.

To those on the outside, all of this may seem like mere hyperbolic excess. To far right evangelicals, this language likens Trump to Jesus, justifies Israel as righteous while likewise smearing American Jews as faithless and doomed to suffer God’s wrath. These comparisons, placing Trump as Christ, are not new. They began before Trump took office….

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