More on Robert Jeffress’s Trump-Reagan Comparison

Reagan and Trump

As I wrote about last week, Rev. Robert Jeffress, a leading court evangelical, recently said that Donald Trump’s moral indiscretions and character problems are not unlike the moral indiscretions and character problems of Ronald Reagan.  Conservative evangelicals supported both presidents.

Tara Isabella Burton adds more to the conversation at Vox.  Here is a taste of her piece:

Days after the news broke that President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen had audio of Trump discussing a payoff to a woman with whom he’d allegedly had an affair, one of Trump’s top evangelical allies came to the president’s defense — with an insult to former President Ronald Reagan. Robert Jeffress, the pastor at the megachurch First Baptist Dallas, told Fox News’s Ed Henry that Trump’s adultery made him no worse than Reagan.

“The reason we supported President Reagan was not because we were supporting womanizing or divorce,” Jeffress told Henry. ”We supported his policies. … We’re not under any illusion that we were voting for an altar boy when we voted for President Trump. We knew about his past. And by the way, none of us has a perfect past. We voted for him because of his policies.” (Reagan has never been publicly accused of being unfaithful to his second wife Nancy Reagan, but some biographers have said that he was something of a lothario in Hollywood during his years an actor and that he cheated on his first wife, Jane Wyman. In 1991, he was also accused of sexual assault by actress Selene Walters four decades prior.)

Read the rest here.

I am eager to hear from Christian Right folks.  Do Trump and Reagan belong in the same category when it comes to morality and character (or lack thereof)?

2 thoughts on “More on Robert Jeffress’s Trump-Reagan Comparison

  1. As a “Christian right” person (although I didn’t vote for Trump), I think the two are far more dissimilar than Jeffress implies. Reagan was divorced, but that was a few decades before he ran for president. Reagan never had ongoing issues raised about his character nor ongoing issues with being faithful to his wife. He did not trash talk opponents and demean them. Reagan always sought to inspire his fellow Americans to live up to their ideals and offered a vision for a brighter future and hope for humanity. Reagan was able to generally unite the country, but Trump is morally and characteristically unable to do it because what that takes is not in his nature.

    I think Jeffress is “bartonizing” history to try to equate the basis for supporting Trump and Reagan. He is throwing Reagan under the bus in order to justify ongoing support for Trump.


  2. I see a big difference between the two on the character issue, in that whether or not you agreed with Reagan’s policies and strategies, you sensed that he believed in something beyond himself and was trying to achieve ideological goals that he thought would benefit most of the country. I do not see this same vision in Trump; it seems like most of what he does is for promotion of himself, and he is driven more by his own vanity than by a vision which aims to benefit the greater portion of the American people (and certainly not people who aren’t Americans or who he doesn’t see as “real” Americans).

    This character question has some tie-back into the morality question in that whether or not they had any equivalencies in moral behavior, I see an amorality in Trump that judges things not with the question “Is this moral?” but rather the question, “How does this benefit me? And is it something I want to do for myself?” I truly believe that questions of morality don’t even enter into Trump’s thinking, and that he probably thinks that if he does something, it therefore can’t be “immoral,” just as he thinks that if he believes something, that makes it inherently true.


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