A Former White House Staffer Reflects on the Court Evangelicals

Trump court evangelicals

Cliff Sims was an “obscure” White House staffer who has written what The Atlantic calls a “jaw-dropping Trump tell all.”  There is a lot to unpack in Sims’s new book Team of Vipers, but I was particularly interested in this passage on the court evangelicals from Elaina Pott’s review of the book:

Sims told me his aim in writing the book was not to scorch or, alternatively, deify the president. In large part, Sims said, it was a way for him to gain clarity and closure on how the experience changed him personally—and how he became, at many points, a person he didn’t like. Throughout the book, he calls himself “nakedly ambitious,” “selfish,” and “a coward.” He writes about his struggle to reconcile his Christian faith with working for a president who, for example, “totally lacked nuance” in his attitude toward refugees—particularly “persecuted Christians,” whom Trump “promise[d]” to help but “[never] did.” Sims writes that he took this concern at one point to Stephen Miller, who, he writes, told him, “I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched America’s soil.”

Meanwhile, he writes, he “never heard any of the faith leaders who actually had access to Trump” press him on the issue. He describes Trump’s evangelical advisory board as a collection largely of televangelist adherents to the prosperity gospel, people he “doubted” were “positive moral and spiritual influence[s] on the president.” “When the president occasionally struggled … to unify the country on divisive cultural issues, the silence of his ‘spiritual advisers’ was deafening,” Sims writes. “What is the point of having moral authority, as all these advisers claimed to, if you don’t stand up for morality?

“But as is so often the case, when I point my accusatory finger at someone, I have three more pointing back at me,” he continues, writing that his “greatest regret” from his time in the White House was “that I wasn’t a better picture of my faith.”

Read the entire piece here.

Court evangelical Johnnie Moore, a man who promotes himself as one of the “world’s most influential young leaders” and a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” responds here.

6 thoughts on “A Former White House Staffer Reflects on the Court Evangelicals

  1. I have some skepticism of any leader drawn to that operation.
    I can’t imagine I would choose to be part of any church these folks were pastoring or a influential leader in.

    Like

  2. “What is the point of having moral authority, as all these advisers claimed to, if you don’t stand up for morality?”

    Virtue-Signalling MY Moral Authority, of course.

    Like

  3. Rust belt Rick,
    I agree that the Christian advisors to Trump are not simply a bunch of fringe prosperity-bringers. Whoever penned that description either does not know Evangelicalism or sadly might want to create a false portrait of the entire group.

    The book of Mr. Sims is an all-too-typical example of a former employee trading on his previous job in The White House for a book deal. These sorts of “kiss and tell” books come out of both Democrat and Republican White Houses or from major political campaigns. In addition to the obvious issue of personal character, I often wonder if these types of writers envision the practical aspects of writing a book of this sort. Specifically, what future employer would want to hire a potentially disloyal employee?

    I also noted that Mr. Sims is a Jeff Sessions man and wonder if his motivations in writing the book had anything to do with Trump’s unhappiness with the former Attorney General?

    James

    Like

  4. “He describes Trump’s evangelical advisory board as a collection largely of televangelist adherents to the prosperity gospel, people he “doubted” were “positive moral and spiritual influence[s] on the president.” ”

    The Trump advisory board doesn’t just represent evangelicalism’s fringe, however. Johnnie Moore is a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals.

    Like

      • Unicorn,
        That sort of observation is a two-edged sword. Can you honestysay that the current views of the DEMs are mainstream? I can still recall when there was a reasonably moderate streak within LBJ’s grand coalition.
        James

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s