According to The Guardian, instead of attending his usual service at the liberal church in Palm Beach, Florida, where he married his third wife Melania Knauss, it seems as if President Trump went to a conservative Baptist-affiliated church in West Palm Beach instead. It seems as if the change of religious venue is the latest indication that Trump is making efforts to keep his evangelical support for next year’s presidential election. White evangelicals backed Trump by a larger number in 2016. He will need their support again to secure a second term. But there have been some recent, high-profile defections in the evangelical community that appear to have left the president and his campaign team concerned about losing an important component of his base.
President Trump’s conflicts began earlier this month, when the evangelical magazine Christianity Today, which was founded by the late Billy Graham, published op-ed calling for the president’s removal from office. Mark Galli, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, said Trump’s efforts to convince Ukraine to investigate one of his political rivals, the previous vice-president Joe Biden, was “a violation of the constitution” and “profoundly immoral”. Trump effortlessly tried to downplay the editorial by criticizing Christianity Today as a “far left magazine” that would rather have a “Radical Left nonbeliever” in the White House. Nevertheless it seems as if the editorial obviously left an impression, as the magazine saw a spike in subscriptions and an editor for another Christian news organization resigned after the outlet issued its own editorial in support of the president.
According to investrecords, Trump recently made staunch moves to enforce abortion restrictions long sought by the religious right. Earlier this year, the Trump administration moved to restrict fetal tissue research and issued a regulation banning family planning clinics that receive federal funding from referring women for abortions. In contrast, his Democratic rivals promised to reverse President Trump’s abortion restrictions and nominate judges who support Roe v Wade, the landmark supreme court case that recognized women’s right to access abortion. Galli of Christianity Today wrote “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. Consider how your justification of Mr Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior.”
Considering there is impeachment at play and now his key base is exiting the camp en masse, one can wonder what trick President Trump might have up his sleeves. Is he going to soften down on his rhetorics or continue branching out to other bases besides his pre existing one ? The 2020 presidential election remains very much up for grabs, but as usual, it will end with about half of the United States triumphant, and the other half furious and uncertain. Whichever side ultimately prevails in November of 2020, the divisiveness that has been felt by certain demographics and others may grow wider if the star spangled banner carriers do not find a way to unite.