Trump will speak at CPAC on February 28

Donald Trump will speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 28 in Orlando. This year’s CPAC theme is “AMERICA UNCANCELED.”

It looks like Trump is getting the old band back together. Speakers include Kristi Noem, Mike Pompeo, Ben Carson, Ron DeSantis, Scott Walker, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Jon Voight, Larry Kudlow, Matt Whitaker, Pam Bondi, Charlie Kirk, Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, James Lankford, Rick Scott, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Steve Scalise, and Dan Bongino.

Sponsors include the American Conservative Union, Fox News, The Washington Times, The Epoch Times, The Heritage Foundation, Turning Point USA, Young America’s Foundation, and Rumble.

MAGA swag will be available in the exhibitors hall, including hammocks! You can also get information about the Liberty University School of Law.

Are the Trumpers in the GOP “cancelling” the anti-Trumpers?

South Dakota’s John Thune, the Senate’s second ranking Republican and former Biola University basketball star, thinks so.

Here is the Associated Press:

U.S. Sen. John Thune on Thursday criticized Republican activists and party leaders for engaging in “cancel culture” by rushing to censure GOP senators who found former President Donald Trump guilty of inciting an insurrection.

In his first interview since he voted to acquit Trump, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican defended fellow Republicans who sided with Democrats on the “vote of conscience” and warned against shutting out dissenting voices in the party.

“There was a strong case made,” Thune said of the Democrats’ impeachment presentation. “People could come to different conclusions. If we’re going to criticize the media and the left for cancel culture, we can’t be doing that ourselves.”

Thune’s remarks were his first explaining his vote in Trump’s trial and assessing the turbulent GOP politics the former president has left behind. Thune, who is facing reelection next year in deeply conservative South Dakota, is among several establishment Republicans grappling with how to reclaim control of a party dominated by Trump and his most ardent supporters for years.

Read the rest here. Several of the GOP Senators who voted to convict Trump during his impeachment trial were censured by state and local GOP organizations. The civil war in the Republican Party continues to rage.

Steve Bannon: “Any candidate who wants to win in Pennsylvania in 2022 must be full Trump MAGA”

With Sen. Pat Toomey retiring, and the GOP split between Trumpism and traditional conservatism, the 2022 Republican senate primary is going to be a war. There are several potential MAGA candidates for the GOP nomination, including Guy Reschenthaler, Doug Mastriano, and Mike Kelly. Pennsylvania also has a long history of electing moderate Republicans. Ryan Costello (see below) and Charlie Dent (who is all over CNN these days) are possible moderate candidates.

Holly Otterbein offers a preview today at Politico:

Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey isn’t running for reelection in 2022. But his vote to convict former President Donald Trump is already rocking the race to succeed him.

County parties have censured Toomey, prompting backlash from centrists and even some Trump supporters who think the efforts will hurt the GOP in upcoming elections. Former Rep. Ryan Costello, a moderate Republican eyeing a bid for the Senate, has publicly come to Toomey’s defense in the wake of his vote. Former Trump aides, in turn, are making plans to torpedo Costello before he announces a campaign.

The turmoil is the latest evidence that Trump’s departure from office has not at all diminished his role in the GOP — in Pennsylvania, in fact, the primary is likely to be a proxy fight between Trump loyalists and those who believe the former president damaged the party’s ability to compete here.

“Any candidate who wants to win in Pennsylvania in 2022 must be full Trump MAGA,” said Steve Bannon, a former White House chief strategist to Trump.

The back-and-forth over Toomey’s vote is also exacerbating party fissures in a state where Republicans lost Senate and gubernatorial contests in 2018 and the presidential contest in 2020. The intraparty tensions could damage Republican prospects in 2022, when control of both the House and the Senate will be up for grabs.

The Pennsylvania Senate race in 2022 is a must-win seat for Republicans, and there will be a critical gubernatorial election that year in the state as well.

Read the rest here.

The election Wikipedia page lists other potential candidates.

More prophets

First The New York Times, now Politico. Everyone seems to be talking about evangelical prophets. Here is Julia Duin’s Politico piece:

Perched on a cream-colored armchair,Johnny Enlow, a 61-year-old, California-based Pentecostal pastor with short-cropped gray hair, a trim beard and Tom Selleck-style mustache, looked into the camera and prophesied that Donald Trump would become president again.

Not in 2024. In 2021.

“The January 20 inauguration date doesn’t really mean anything,” Enlow said in the January 29 video, which has gotten north of 100,000 views on YouTube. According to Enlow, more than 100 other “credible” Christian prophets around the world had likewise declared that Trump, somehow, would be restored to power soon.

Indeed, Enlow was not alone out on that limb. Greg Locke, a Nashville pastor with a massive social media following, said after Trump’s loss that he would “100 percent remain president of the United States for another term.” Kat Kerr, a pink-haired preacher from Jacksonville, Florida, declared repeatedly last month that Trump had won the election “by a landslide” and that God had told her he would serve for eight years. In his video, Enlow went further. “There’s not going to be just Trump coming back,” he said. “There’s going to be at least two more Trumps that will be in office in some way.” Donald Trump, he proclaimed elsewhere, was “the primary government leader on Planet Earth.”

Enlow, Locke and Kerr are among dozens of Christian prophets in America—religious leaders with followings among Pentecostal and charismatic Christians who claimthe ability to predict the future based on dreams, visions and other supernatural phenomena. Some prophets are church leaders, while others operate independently. There are no official requirements for prophet status, though followers generally expect prophets toget at least a few prophecies right.

Read the rest here.

These prophets have been around for a long time, but the Trump era empowered them.

Trump’s evangelicals respond to the death of Rush Limbaugh

“There was a generation of Christians who used to listen to Moody or Family Life radio all day, and sometime around 1990 they decided to listen to Rush five times a week instead. And here we are.”–TWOILH reader.

Limbaugh seldom talked about religion. He was not a Christian Right leader. But the Christian Right loved him.

Franklin Graham will miss Rush:

Paula White:

Gary Bauer at Facebook: “Heartbroken by this devastating news.”

Jim Garlow at Facebook: “An enormous loss. Brilliance. Staggering brilliance! The dispenser of truth. So glad he was honored by the President and the First Lady.”

Jack Hibbs at Facebook: “RUSH LIMBAUGH DIES AT 70”

David Barton shared the Fox News obituary at his Facebook page.

Charlie Kirk of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center with a few very predictable tweets:

Jenna Ellis of the Liberty University Falkirk Center:

Falkirk Center:

Is the GOP civil war raging, or is it over?

Jamelle Bouie of The New York Times believes the war is over and Trump won.

Here is a taste of his column at The New York Times:

If there’s a conflict, it’s less a war and more a small skirmish with an outmatched and outnumbered opponent. Seventy-five percent of Republicans want Trump to continue to “play a prominent role in the Republican Party,” according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, and 87 percent say he should be allowed to “hold elected office in the future.” A recent survey from Morning Consult likewise shows Trump far ahead of his rivals in a hypothetical 2024 matchup, with 54 percent support versus 12 percent for the runner-up, Mike Pence.

The Republican Party belongs to Trump for as long as he wants it. Its most prominent politicians will follow his lead and attempt to build on his example. His children and in-laws will have a place as heirs to his legacy. If Trump decides to seek the White House for a second term, the nomination is almost certainly his to lose.

What does it mean, in practice, for Trump to retain this strong a hold over the Republican Party? Since “Trumpism” isn’t a policy platform as much as it is a singular devotion to the man himself, a Trumpified Republican Party is one in which candidates do everything they can to shape themselves in his image. Just look at the candidates who would like to be president, if Trump doesn’t run. Most of them were, at some point before he became president, critics, with harsh words for Trump’s policies, personality and proclivities. These days, however, they’re his biggest fans.

Read the entire piece here.

After watching the way local and state GOP organizations attacked the seven Senators who voted to convict Trump, it is hard to argue with Bouie here.

Donald, why don’t you tell us what you REALLY think about Mitch McConnell?

Trump released this statement today through his political action committee “Save America”:

The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political “leaders” like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm. McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse. The Democrats and Chuck Schumer play McConnell like a fiddle—they’ve never had it so good—and they want to keep it that way! We know our America First agenda is a winner, not McConnell’s Beltway First agenda or Biden’s America Last.

In 2020, I received the most votes of any sitting President in history, almost 75,000,000. Every incumbent House Republican won for the first time in decades, and we flipped 15 seats, almost costing Nancy Pelosi her job. Republicans won majorities in at least 59 of the 98 partisan legislative chambers, and the Democrats failed to flip a single legislative chamber from red to blue. And in “Mitch’s Senate,” over the last two election cycles, I single-handedly saved at least 12 Senate seats, more than eight in the 2020 cycle alone—and then came the Georgia disaster, where we should have won both U.S. Senate seats, but McConnell matched the Democrat offer of $2,000 stimulus checks with $600. How does that work? It became the Democrats’ principal advertisement, and a big winner for them it was. McConnell then put himself, one of the most unpopular politicians in the United States, into the advertisements. Many Republicans in Georgia voted Democrat, or just didn’t vote, because of their anguish at their inept Governor, Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and the Republican Party, for not doing its job on Election Integrity during the 2020 Presidential race.

It was a complete election disaster in Georgia, and certain other swing states. McConnell did nothing, and will never do what needs to be done in order to secure a fair and just electoral system into the future. He doesn’t have what it takes, never did, and never will.

My only regret is that McConnell “begged” for my strong support and endorsement before the great people of Kentucky in the 2020 election, and I gave it to him. He went from one point down to 20 points up, and won. How quickly he forgets. Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly. Now, his numbers are lower than ever before, he is destroying the Republican side of the Senate, and in so doing, seriously hurting our Country.

Likewise, McConnell has no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings. He does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat.

Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.

Prior to the pandemic, we produced the greatest economy and jobs numbers in the history of our Country, and likewise, our economic recovery after Covid was the best in the world. We cut taxes and regulations, rebuilt our military, took care of our Vets, became energy independent, built the wall and stopped the massive inflow of illegals into our Country, and so much more. And now, illegals are pouring in, pipelines are being stopped, taxes will be going up, and we will no longer be energy independent.

This is a big moment for our country, and we cannot let it pass by using third rate “leaders” to dictate our future!


  1. This is a direct response to McConnell’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.
  2. In case you have already noticed, the GOP is engaged in a civil war. According to very recent polling, Trumpism seems to be winning.
  3. Trump is still bitter about Georgia turning blue. The state is currently investigating him for election fraud.
  4. Trump wants to be a kingmaker. He says he will back primary candidates against McConnell-style Republicans.
  5. McConnell could have put Trump away, or least dealt him a significant political blow last Saturday. Instead he hid behind a technicality. McConnell allowed the monster to live and now it is coming back to bite him.

CNN is reporting that the original version of this statement said McConnell “has too many chins and not enough brains.”

The GOP still loves Trump

A Morning Consult poll found that a majority of Republicans would support him in 2024 primary run. They prefer Trump by far over Mike Pence, Donald Trump Jr., Nikki Haley, Mitt Romney, Mike Pompeo, Kristi Noem, Tim Scott, Rick Scott, Larry Hogan, or anyone else.

How is Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey faring after voting to convict Trump?

Many of my fellow Pennsylvanians are not happy with Pat Toomey. Here is The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Republican state party chairman Lawrence Tabas has advised committee members that he will soon call a meeting to “address and consider actions related to the impeachment vote.” Though the notice didn’t specifically mention Toomey, four party insiders said Monday that there’s growing momentum behind a push to censure the senator.

County parties across the state are already doing so.

“The York County Republican Committee condemns, in the strongest terms, the actions of United States Senator Patrick Joseph Toomey, Jr. for his failure to defend the Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees,” read one censure resolution, passed Saturday before Toomey even voted to convict Trump.

It was approved because Toomey voted to proceed with the trial in the first place, with many Republicans arguing it’s unconstitutional to try a former president.

“It was overwhelming. There was no debate,” said Jeff Piccola, the York County Republican chairman and a former state senator. “They were cheering when they were voting and when the resolution was being read. It bubbled up from beneath, it wasn’t my idea.”

Similar resolutions have been approved or are expected far and wide, including in Cambria, Lancaster, Centre, and Northampton Counties. Even in Chester County — where Joe Biden defeated Trump by 17 percentage points — the local GOP is considering voting to censure Toomey at its meeting on Tuesday. “Senator Toomey has violated the trust of his voters, failed to fulfill, and represent a very large majority of motivated Pennsylvania voters, and neglected his duty to represent the party and the will of the people who elected him to represent them,” reads a draft resolution.

Read the entire piece here.

I appreciate the courage of my Senators–Pat Toomey and Bob Casey. Thank you for your votes on Saturday. I only wish Toomey would have cast a similar vote in Trump’s first impeachment.

Mitt Romney: Deep state agent?

Some members of the Utah GOP want g to censure Mitt Romney, the 2012 presidential nominee of the Republican Party. A lot can happen in a decade. Here is a draft of the censure that is circulated online (boldface is mine):

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney has failed, and continues to fail, to represent the average conservative Utah Republican voter.

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney misrepresented himself as a Republican.

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney has prioritized his personal and political vendetta against President Donald J. Trump ahead of the Constitution of the United States, the interest of We, the People, and the advancement of the Republican Platform.

Whereas; President Donald J. Trump received 58.13% in Utah’s 2020 General Election.

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney embarrassed the State of Utah when he was the only U.S. Republican Senator in 2019 to join the Democrats partisan vote to convict President Donald J. Trump.

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney voted against Senator Rand Paul’s motion regarding the unconstitutionality of impeaching a private citizen.

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney voted to continue the Un-Constitutional Impeachment Trial of President Donald J.Trump to allow witnesses after House Managers had previously failed to call any witness prior to their rushed impeachment vote in the House, thus Denying President Donald J. Trump Due Process Rights under the Constitution.

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney voted guilty in the 2021 Impeachment Trial of former President Donald J. Trump.

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney saw fit to intentionally violate the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendment Rights of President Donald J. Trump.

Whereas, Senator Willard Mitt Romney used and uses his senatorial power and influence to undermine Republican President Donald J. Trump.

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney has condoned false and misleading statements that have led the 117th Congress of the United States to further conduct an illegal and unconstitutional 2nd Impeachment proceeding against President Donald J.Trump.

Whereas; Senator Willard Mitt Romney fails to ensure election integrity and continues to condemn those who do.

Whereas; the Utah Republican Party leadership has failed to issue a censure.

Therefore; be it resolved that;

We, the undersigned voters, censure Senator Willard Mitt Romney.

The Trump era has revealed a lot about Republican Party. Read more at The Salt Lake Tribune. The motion to censure includes a reference to Romney as a member of the so-called “deep state.”

Mitch McConnell clarifies his vote to acquit Trump in a *Wall Street Journal* op-ed.

Mitch McConnell is a weasel. He is also a very crafty politician. In his mind, moral conviction always takes a back seat to his quest for political power. This was on display Saturday when he voted to acquit Donald Trump on a technicality. Trump incited an insurrection on the very branch of government over which he presides (or presided), but he still chose to hide behind a heavily contested interpretation of the impeachment clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Here is McConnell in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

Jan. 6 was a shameful day. A mob bloodied law enforcement and besieged the first branch of government. American citizens tried to use terrorism to stop a democratic proceeding they disliked.

There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility. His supporters stormed the Capitol because of the unhinged falsehoods he shouted into the world’s largest megaphone. His behavior during and after the chaos was also unconscionable, from attacking Vice President Mike Pence during the riot to praising the criminals after it ended.

I was as outraged as any member of Congress. But senators take our own oaths. Our job wasn’t to find some way, any way, to inflict a punishment. The Senate’s first and foundational duty was to protect the Constitution.

Some brilliant scholars believe the Senate can try and convict former officers. Others don’t. The text is unclear, and I don’t begrudge my colleagues their own conclusions. But after intense study, I concluded that Article II, Section 4 limits impeachment and conviction to current officers.

McConnell admits that the Constitution is not clear about whether the Senate can impeach a president after he has left office. It could have gone either way. But when in doubt, McConnell believes, always vote with the party. Maintain power. Since the “text is unclear,” McConnell could have used the ambiguity to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. Instead he decided to go with power.

McConnell continues:

This selective disregard for rules and norms is a civic disease that is spreading through the political left. Senate Democrats relished the legislative filibuster and used it frequently when they were the minority party. Now only two of them pledge to respect it. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has threatened Supreme Court justices by name, and other Democrats submitted a brief demanding the court rule their way or be “restructured.” As recently as September, fewer than half of Democrats professed confidence that elections are free and fair. In November, that number shot up to more than 90%—because they liked the result.

The nation needs real constitutional champions, not fair-weather institutionalists. The Senate’s duty last week was clear. It wasn’t to guarantee a specific punishment at any cost. Our job was to defend the Constitution and respect its limits. That is what our acquittal delivered.

I wonder what would have happened if McConnell felt this way about Supreme Court nominations. Remember Merrick Garland?

Read the entire piece here.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s evangelical family chide him for losing the support of Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and, “most importantly,” Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh. (Also God, but not “most importantly”).

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump. In a piece titled “Adam Kinzinger’s Lonely Mission,” The New York Times tells his story. The subtitle reads: “Censured by his party and shunned by family members, Mr. Kinzinger, a six-term Illinois congressman, is pressing Republicans to leave Donald Trump behind–and risking his career doing so.”

As part of its piece, the Times has published a letter Kinzinger received from members of his extended family. Page one is published at the top of this post. Here is a transcript:


Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God! We were once so proud of your accomplishments! Instead, you go against your Christian principals (sic) and join the “devil’s army.” (Democrats and the fake news media). How do you call yourself a Christian when you join the “devils army believing in abortion! We thought you were “smart” enough to see how the left is brainwashing so many “so called good people” including yourself and many other GOP members. You have even fallen for their socialism ideals! So, so, sad!

President Trump is not perfect, but neither are you or any of us for that matter! It is not for us to judge or be judged! But he is a Christian! (If God can forgive and use King David in the Bible, He can do the same with President Trump.) Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, to just name a few, of many Pastors, who mentor President Trump, know that he is a believer! Obviously, you did not hear President Trump’s “Christmas Message” to the American people (fake news media did not cover his message) where he actually gave the plan of salvation, instructing people how to repent and ask the Savior into their heart to be “Born Again”! (To believe in John 3:16). When was the last time you proclaimed your faith Adam? (Oh, we forgot you now belong to the “devils army.”). You won’t convince us otherwise with your horrible, rude accusations of President Trump! (To embrace a party that believes in abortion and socialism is the ultimate sin.) We should list even more grievances against you, but decided you ae not worth more of our time to list them. We have said enough!

You should be very proud that you have lost the respect of Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Greg Kelly, etc. and most importantly in our book, Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh and us!

It is now most embarrassing to us that we are related to you. You have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name. We are not judging you. This letter is our opinion of you !

Oh, by the way, good luck in your fund raising endeavors. We are sure we know there are many others good GOP and Christian supporters, that feel the same way we do. Also very disappointed with the many other GOP have sided with the Democrats. (We should demand our money back!)

The following Kinzinger family members have asked that their names be added to this letter:


P.S. For your information, many more family members, feel the same as we do. They just didn’t have the courage to sign our letter or write their own letter! Not us, we are throughly (sic) disgusted with you!! And, oh by the way, we are calling for your removal from office! I have received numerous calls concerning your actions and egregious behavior towards our President of the United States, Donald J. Trump!

CC: Many conservative Republicans.

*President Trump has done more for the American people in four years, than you, the Rino’s, and Democrates (sic) have done in years!!

I have a lot of Trump supporters in my extended family, but fortunately I have never received a letter of this kind. (Although I am sure these sentiments have been expressed in private conversations). I have, however, received these kinds of letters and e-mails (about one or two a week since Believe Me was published) from others, including several members of my church. There is nothing in this Kinzinger family letter to Adam Kinzinger that I have not heard before, including the references to Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, the Fox News crowd, socialism, abortion, and Trump’s newfound evangelical faith.” The line about Trump not being “perfect” is boilerplate. This letter should be put on display in a museum as representative of evangelical Trumpism.

I appreciate conservative evangelicals like Kinzinger and Jamie Herrera Beutler who have shown true courage during the Trump impeachment trial.

Here is a taste of The New York Times piece:

Raised in a large central Illinois family — his father, who has 32 first cousins, ran food banks and shelters for the homeless in Peoria and Bloomington — Mr. Kinzinger was interested in politics from an early age. Before he’d turned 10 he predicted he would one day be governor or president, Ms. Otto said, and he won election to the McLean County Board when he was a 20-year-old sophomore at Illinois State University.

He joined the Air Force after the Sept. 11 attacks and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon his discharge he joined the Air National Guard, where he remains a lieutenant colonel. In the 2010 Republican wave Mr. Kinzinger, then 32, beat a Democratic incumbent by nearly 15 percentage points and, two years later, with support from Eric Cantor, then the House majority leader, ousted another incumbent, 10-term Republican Don Manzullo, in a primary following redistricting.

But Mr. Kinzinger soon became dispirited by a Republican Party he believed was centered around opposition to whatever President Barack Obama proposed without offering new ideas of its own.

“His frustration level has been rising ever since he got to Congress and I think the Trump era has been difficult for him to make sense of and participate in,” said former Representative Kevin Yoder of Kansas, who was one of Mr. Kinzinger’s closest friends in Congress before losing a 2018 re-election bid. When loyalty to Mr. Trump became a litmus test for Republican conservatism, Mr. Yoder said, “that became a bridge too far for him.”

Read the entire piece here.

American families are boycotting Publix

Boycotts are as old as the republic. As historian T.H. Breen taught us in his book The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence (and several other seminal articles on the 18th-century British consumer revolution), shopping, or the refusal to shop, can be a revolutionary act.

Recently, conservative Trump-loving evangelicals have called for the boycott of big box stores such as Kohl’s and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and department stores such as J.C. Penney and Macy’s, because these stores have refused to carry MyPillow products after CEO Mike Lindell promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.

Now Americans are boycotting Publix, a grocery-store chain that donated $300,000 to the January 6, 2021 Donald Trump rally that preceded the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

Here is Richard Luscombe at The Guardian:

Wendy Mize’s family grew up on Publix, disciples to the giant supermarket chain’s empirical marketing slogan: “Where shopping is a pleasure”. As infants, her three daughters wore diapers bought from the Publix baby club. As children, they munched on free cookies from the bakery. There were even perks for the family’s pets, who are proud members of Publix Paws.

But now the decades-long love affair is over. After a member of Publix’s founding family donated $300,000 to the Donald Trump rally that preceded January’s deadly Capitol riots, Mize is pulling out of what she says has become “an abusive, dysfunctional relationship”, and joining others in a boycott of the Florida-based grocery chain that operates more than 1,200 stores across seven south-eastern states.

“It was the last straw,” said Mize, 57, an advertising copywriter from Orlando whose youngest twin daughters are now 19. “Insurrection at the Capitol, images of the police officer with his head being crushed, individuals dressed as Vikings on the floor of the Senate… we’re not going to call this normal. [Publix] are a private company and it is their business how they want to contribute their money, but it’s also my right to decide where I want to spend my dollars.”

Read the rest here.

Is Lara Trump the future of the Republican Party?

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham seems to think so. And, sadly, he may be right. If Marjorie Taylor Greene can get elected to Congress, why not Lara Trump? Both her and Greene embody GOP values right now.

Here is Ray Hartmann at Salon:

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has somehow decided that Donald Trump’s escape means Lara Trump is now certain to become senator of North Carolina. She’s expected to seek the seat being vacated next year by Senator Richard Burr, who infuriated the Republican Party Saturday by voting to convict Trump. Burr had announced in 2016 he wouldn’t seek another term in 2022.

If Graham has a reason to elevate Lara Trump other than her last name, he’s keeping it to himself.

“The biggest winner I think of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump,” Graham told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “If she runs, I will certainly be behind her because I think she represents the future of the Republican Party.”

This will likely come as news to Senator Tim Scott, Graham’s fellow Republican from South Carolina, who has already endorsed the candidacy of former Rep. Mark Walker for the seat. The same goes for Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma and former Governor Mike Huckabee, who hosted Walker on his show.

Read the rest here.

Why did the GOP Senators voted to acquit Trump? Here is a cheat sheet:

Over the weekend we posted the statements of most of the U.S. senators (all Republicans) who voted to acquit Donald Trump on Saturday. You can read that post here. It is a long post, so we created a cheat sheet:

Marsha Blackburn (TN): The trial was unconstitutional, but it was also a “despicable” effort to take down Trump

Roy Blunt (MO): The trial was unconstitutional.

John Boozman (MT): Trump bears “some responsibility” for the attack on the Capitol, but the trial was unconstitutional.

Mike Braun (IN): The trial was unconstitutional

Shelley Moore Capito (WV): The trial was unconstitutional and Congress should not be focused on impeachment right now. Trump lost the election and Trump was responsible. History will “judge him harshly.”

John Cornyn (TX): The trial was unconstitutional

Tom Cotton (AR): Still no statement

Kevin Cramer (ND): Trump did not incite the insurrectionists and did not commit a “high crime and misdemeanor.” The House managers did not make their case.

Mike Crapo (ID): The trial was unconstitutional

Ted Cruz (TX): Trump did not incite the insurrectionists and the entire trial was a waste of time.

Steve Daines (MT): The trial was unconstitutional.

Joni Ernst (IA): The trial was unconstitutional.

Lindsey Graham (SC): Trump did not cite the insurrectionists and the entire trial was driven by partisan hatred of the former president.

Chuck Grassley (IA): The trial was unconstitutional. Trump “did not behave well” and should have accepted the election results. But the Democrats also don’t behave well.

John Hawley (MO: No statement yet.

John Hoeven (ND): The trial was unconstitutional. Trump “encouraged” the “protest” on January 6, 2021.

Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS): The trial was unconstitutional. The House managers failed to prove Trump incited the insurrection.

Jim Inhofe (OK): The trial was unconstitutional.

Ron Johnson (WI): The impeachment was trial was “divisive” and “vindictive” and it should have never taken place.

John Kennedy (LA): “The merits of the Democrats case was not even close.” The trial was unconstitutional.

James Lankford (OK): The trial was unconstitutional.

Mike Lee (UT): The House managers did not prove that Trump incited the insurrection. The trial was unconstitutional.

Cynthia Lummis (WY): The trial was unconstitutional.

Roger Marshall (KS): The trial was unconstitutional.

Mitch McConnell (KY): The trial was unconstitutional, but Trump was guilty.

Jerry Moran (KS): The president was “wrong” for not discouraging the insurrectionists, but the trial was unconstitutional.

Rand Paul (KY): The trial was unconstitutional.

Rob Portmann (OH): Trump incited the insurrectionists, but the trial was unconstitutional.

James Risch (ID): The trial was unconstitutional.

Mike Rounds (SD): The trial was unconstitutional.

Marco Rubio (FL): The trial was unconstitutional and was meant to “tar and feather” Trump supporters.

Rick Scott (FL): The trial was unconstitutional and a waste of time.

Tim Scott (SC): Trump was not guilty of inciting the insurrection

Richard Shelby (AL): The trial was unconstitutional.

Dan Sullivan (AK): Trump exercised “poor judgement” on January 6, 2021, but the trial was unconstitutional.

John Thune (SD):Trump’s behavior was “inexcusable,” but the trial was unconstitutional.

Thom Tillis (NC): The trial was unconstitutional and the House managers failed to make their case that Trump incited the riot.

Tommy Tuberville (AL): The trial was unconstitutional.

Robert Wicker (MS): The trial was unconsitutional.

Todd Young (IN): The trial was unconstitutional.

In the end, most of the Senators voted to acquit because they believed that the Constitution does not allow a former president to stand trial for impeachment.

A few Senators who believed the trial was unconstitutional also condemned Trump’s rhetoric. Mitch McConnell went the furthest on this front.

Some Senators did not believe the House managers made their case.

And then there were senators Marsha Blackburn, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, and Marco Rubio. They essentially agreed with Trump’s claim that this was a witch hunt. Three of these senators–Cruz, Graham, and Rubio–had some very harsh things to say about Trump when they ran for president against him in 2016.

No one is taking away Eric Metaxas’s freedom of speech. People just don’t want to give their platforms to conspiracy theorists.

If you are a Trump evangelical looking to promote your book, your platform, or the latest conspiracy theory about the 2020 presidential election, COVID-19, or the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, then Calvary Church-Chino Hills (CA) is the place for you. Jack Hibbs’s church is becoming an important part of Trump’s lost cause evangelical infrastructure.

Back in January, Trump wonder-boy Charlie Kirk, the co-founder of the Falkirk Center at Liberty University (another important institution in the lost cause evangelical infrastructure), appeared at Calvary-Chino Hills. You may remember his visit. In the span of about an hour, Kirk canceled rapper Lecrae, called the congregation to engage in “battleship Christianity,” and, of course, invoked Godwin’s Law. Hibbs sat back in his chair and tossed provocative softball questions for Kirk to hit out of the park. The crowd cheered as these two evangelicals stoked a politics of fear and victimization. It was all quite pathetic. And Jesus wept.

Now it is Eric Metaxas’s turn to make a stop at Hibbs’s church. His speech today was a combination of sermon, self-promotion, and culture war harangue. But at least the worship music was good. No, really, it was! 🙂


Metaxas’s appearance at this church begs for analysis. So here goes:

The church was packed for Metaxas’s talk. No masks. No social distancing.

Hibbs said that Metaxas is “shaking so much of the Christian world and beyond.”

The pastor noted that Metaxas is one of the writers of Veggie Tales. This is true. Here is Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer:

Metaxas starts with a joke about Mike “MyPillow Guy” Lindell. He tells the church to use the “code word Eric.” He says the “woke” culture does not have a sense of humor. (Metaxas obviously thinks hawking pillows on a Sunday morning is a problem). Metaxas adds that when he tells such jokes like this the Left thinks he is being serious.

Actually, I think a lot of people are offended by jokes about “Hitlery Clinton.” Some people find it blasphemous when Metaxas describes Trump with the phrase, “Is there anyone like unto him.” There are also people who think jokes about Black vernacular are not funny. But Metaxas doesn’t care. He is an American with free speech.

Metaxas’s use of Kuyperianism to explain the goodness of his upbringing is worth considering. As the grandchildren of immigrants, I could relate to this part of his talk.

But then he uses his mother’s experience in East Germany to explain the current state of American culture. (His mother fled communism and taught him to fear this ideology). Metaxas believes that the greatest threat to America is the socialism and communism that he believes to be manifested most clearly on the political Left. He is incapable of seeing that the greatest threat to American democracy is actually Trumpism, anti-intellectual populism, and the kind of blind partisanship that voted to acquit a man who incited a riot on the United States Capitol.

This leads Metaxas into his spiel on American exceptionalism. He accepts Ronald Reagan’s view of John Winthrop’s sermon “A Model of Christian Charity,” even adding, like Reagan did, the word “shining” to the phrase “city on a hill.” (The word “shining” was not in the original sermon). There is so much good scholarship right now that rejects Reagan’s and Metaxas’s view of Winthrop’s lay sermon. I would encourage Metaxas to listen to my interviews with historian Daniel Rodgers and literary scholar Abram Van Engen. But I am guessing that he won’t listen to these interviews because if he does it might mean he will have to revise his thinking on this issue, and that might hurt his platform. Instead, Metaxas will just announce that all the scholars who have spent years and decades studying Winthrop, Puritanism, and American exceptionalism don’t know what they are talking about. (He does the same thing with the Bonhoeffer scholars who trashed his biography). In the end, virtually everything Metaxas says about the “city upon a hill” is wrong. Yet he uses this faulty understanding of the past to promote his evangelical Trumpism to the members of the Calvary-Chino Hills congregation and the people who will watch and share this speech on his YouTube and Rumble channels.

Metaxas then moves to his experience at Yale University. He says he is not proud he went to Yale. This sounds disingenuous. Metaxas is an evangelical celebrity today partly because he attended this prestigious institution. Evangelical gatekeepers fast-track the careers of Ivy-League graduates who have born-again experiences in the same way that they give book deals and speaking engagements to athletes like Tim Tebow or artists like Justin Bieber.

I think Metaxas could learn a lesson here from writer Richard Rodriguez’s Kenyon College commencement address in which Rodriguez tells the story of meeting one of his literary heroes. Rodriguez thanks this writer (he does not name him) for publishing a book that had a profound influence on him (Rodriguez) during an earlier part of his life. The literary hero responds by saying that there is not a day that goes by that he does not regret writing that book. Rodriguez is angered and saddened by his hero’s comment. Why? Because this literary hero so easily rejects his past. He fails to see that “life is a whole.”

Earlier in his sermon, Metaxas quotes Abraham Kuyper’s famous line: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” Yet he talks about what he learned at Yale as if the knowledge he imbibed there was somehow not part of the world God created. Here Metaxas reveals the Manicheanism and fundamentalism of the Christian Right movement he represents. Yes, there are a lot of things Christians can criticize about what is taught at Yale, but if all truth is God’s truth, then certainly Metaxas learned something while a student there in the 1980s. I am sure Metaxas would agree with me here, but he could never say this publicly because it does not fit with his politics of fear. This approach to politics does not see nuance. It only sees black and white. Metaxas does not see Yale as a place of learning about the world God created. He instead sees it as a place that should invoke fear in every true believer. Don’t send your kids to New Haven for college, Metaxas seems to suggest, unless they are going to Yale as missionaries with the goal of challenging their unbelieving professors like in the popular evangelical movie God is Not Dead.

When he talks about his experience at Yale, I get the sense that Metaxas is echoing William F. Buckley’s God and Man at Yale.

Metaxas says a bit about slavery. He argues that William Wilberforce (the subject of one of his books) knew that slavery was wrong because he was a Christian. This is true. Metaxas says something similar about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Metaxas affirms that Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer knew that there is no morality apart from the God of the Bible. But it is hard to reconcile these statements with Metaxas’s failure to speak out against the immorality of the Trump administration. Does he really believe Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer would sit on their hands during the Trump era or, as Metaxas did, support this president and some of his policies? As I argued yesterday, House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin sounded far more Christian and biblical than Metaxas and the evangelicals in the Senate yesterday.

Metaxas insists that the evangelical embrace of Trump has not hurt the witness of evangelical Christianity in the world. I think there are millions and millions of Americans–Christian or otherwise–who would beg to differ. I hear from them on a regular basis. Many of them filled-out my survey. (Which is still open, by the way).

Then Metaxas, who hosts a nationally-syndicated daily radio show and is on a national book tour (including an interview at The Atlantic today), starts complaining that he is being canceled for his views and not allowed to speak freely. Granted, there are a lot of people who do not care for what Metaxas has to say, especially when it comes to his claims that the 2020 president election was stolen. These people do not want conspiracies theories on their platforms. They do not want to publish Metaxas’s books or have him speak at their events. They have the right to do this.

What seems to really bother Metaxas is that his views are not accepted by the very cultural elite that he spends so much time attacking. He desperately wants the educated classes–both within and outside of evangelicalism– to accept him. But all he’s got is Calvary Chino-Hills. So he shows up on a Sunday morning, complains that he is a victim, references Camus and Woody Allen, and basks in the applause of the maskless evangelical Trumpers who fill the room. His ideas only resonate with the faithful. This fact appears to drive him crazy.

In this talk, Metaxas repeats his claim that he will “fight until the last drop of blood because there are people that have died for freedom.” Metaxas mentions nothing about the people who died to defend the United States Capitol from the insurrectionists incited by the president who Metaxas helped get elected. Did Brian Sicknick die for his country?

Metaxas also repeats his belief that the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol were not Trump supporters. I think Kevin McCarthy and Jamie Herrara Beutler might have something to say about that. So might Mitch McConnell.

Near the end of the sermon Metaxas praises the people of Calvary-Chino Hills for not wearing masks. The crowd goes wild. Metaxas says “praise the Lord.”

By this point Metaxas is on a roll. He tells the church to “speak-up against Black Lives Matter.” He scares the congregation into believing that there are Marxists around every corner looking to destroy America. The applause lines are closer together.

Metaxas defines “courage” as “faith in a crisis.” And then he applies this definition to himself. He says, “I’m going to do what I think is right because I know people are looking at me and they get strength from my courage and it helps them to be courageous. And if I am cowardly it leads to a spiral of silence that shuts up even more people.” Interesting. Remember that earlier in this talk Metaxas said that he would shed his blood in the fight against those on the Left who want to destroy America. Did people “get strength” from this statement? Yes, people are watching you Eric. Maybe even some of the people watching you (or listening to your radio show) are the same people at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the people who think the election was stolen, or the people who enabled the most corrupt president in the United States to run roughshod over American democracy. I am glad you finally admitted that you have some influence over the way evangelicals and others think about the world.

When he finished his speech, the people of Calvary Chapel-Chino Hills gave Metaxas a standing ovation. Then Hibbs blessed it all with a closing prayer. The praise band followed with a song exhorting the congregation to go forth in the name of Jesus. I am guessing this evangelical megachurch is used to this kind of God and country rhetoric. They get weekly doses of it from their pastor and his guest preachers.

And from what I have heard, this church is growing.

ADDENDUM (8:24pm): I just checked Amazon to see how Metaxas’s new book Fish Out of Water is doing. It is ranked #65. Not bad for someone who is getting cancelled.

What happened when GOP congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler wished her constituents a “Happy Valentine’s Day”?

Yesterday we did a post on Jamie Herrera Beutler, the Washington congresswoman who was prepared to testify that House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy told her that Trump supported the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Herrera did not testify, but a statement by her was read into the trial record so the Senate jurors could consider her testimony in their deliberations.

We also noted that Beutler is an evangelical Christian–a member of City Harvest Church in Vancouver, Washington and a former student at Seattle Pacific University.

Here is Beutler last week:

Beutler is one of the heroes of the second Trump impeachment trial, but not everyone in her district agrees with me. Today on her Facebook page, Beutler wished her constituents a Happy Valentines Day. Here are a few of the responses she received:

  • “Even when being impeached, he wins…twice.#Trump2024 #Senate
  • “For most of your term you have been ineffective and a non-factor.Your last move shows you are another political airhead grifter who gets elected and begins running for re-election, planning for a cushy job when you leave, and making certain to do what is needed so you get invited to all the best parties.Time for you to go!”
  • “Is it true you offered to testify at the Senate impeachment. They decided not to have testimony? Go home!”
  • “While you might have meant well with this posting, Jaime Herrera Beutler, people in your district are looking for more leadership and representation from you than a cutesy Valentines post. Get started addressing real issues and coming up with some solutions and results. without that you don’t have a chance to ever regain the trust and respect of your constituents.”
  • “She’s timidly testing the mood of the people by changing the subject. I expect more than hearts and Easter bunnies from elected officials.”
  • “She has shown her true colors and how badly she fails at representing the people who elected her into office. She needs to go and blessedly we have plans of doing just that.”
  • “You need to be primaried. Your impeachment vote is not the only time you stabbed us in the back. And Happy Valentine’s to you.”
  • “Happy Valentines to you! Thanks to Mitt Romney you’re my 2nd favorite Democrat. 🤣🤣
  • “Nice try sell out. Your ploy didn’t work. You will be voted out next election”
  • “Disappointed that you left your people behind to make peace with Democrats who have gone out their way to put your people out of work ….consider my support gone”
  • “I want my vote back👎You said you were a Republican…. when really you Are NOT!!!”
  • “You are just another disgraceful RINOAbandoning President Trump and crapping on the first amendment while you watched Seattle riot and loot, set up an illegal zone with rampant crime destruction and murder! You should resign immediately.”
  • “Let us know when you start your next job … You know … Building solar panels along side all the union workers that lost their jobs on the oil pipelines …”
  • “You abandoned our president. Would like our donations we gave you back. Back stabbers our not for us.”
  • “Start counting the days til the next election, you are on borrowed time as far as your tenure goes, that was real show boating speech you had with McCarthy.”
  • “Happy Valentine’s Day, and be true to your heart and switch parties, nobody buys your charade anymore.”
  • “Sorry but sweet Valentine messages won’t make up for your deserting your party and constituences!”
  • “My day is happy, hope yours sucks, hope you are voted out next election…..”
  • “Happy Valentine’s Day and enjoy your new party! You will not win another election as a Republican. So long RINO.”
  • “You just showed your true colors …..turncoat ! Don’t Happy Valentines me !!! 👎🏻😡
  • “Happy Valentines Day to President Donald J Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on another, rightful, acquittal.”
  • “I supported you from the beginning. You sided with the losing. Hope they come through for you. You’ve lost my vote. I’d prefer not to hear from you or your campaign. I’m blocking you from my Facebook account.”
  • “You will never get another vote from our house. It’s time to Primary you out! Good riddence!”
  • “Wasted my vote on you”
  • “Trump 2024 !!!!!”
  • “You are a joke”
  • “I would closely examine any valentine gifts from you…. 2 face”
  • “Do traitors have a heart!”
  • “Traitor to your Constituents. Now nobody wants you. You won’t be back!!!!”
  • “Another worthless turncoat.”
  • “Unfortunately, I can never vote for you again. You are to represent your constituents and you have lost sight of that. It’s irrelevant that you feel strongly one way or the other. That’s your own personal thoughts but we didn’t elect you to vote your conscience we elected you to represent us. Two totally different things.”

We will see what happens in 2022. I imagine Trump will seek vengeance against Beutler by supporting a primary challenger.

ADDENDUM (6:31pm): A reader from Jamie Herrera Beutler’s district offers some helpful information:

I live in the WA-3rd and watch politics here closely.  Jaime Herrera Beutler knows exactly what she is doing, and she is doing exactly what she needs to do in order to survive in this district.  Of course you can find local rabid Republicans who are enraged at her. But that isn’t the whole story by a longshot.

First, WA, like CA, does not have partisan primaries.  We have a so-called “jungle primary” in which the top two from all parties advance to the general election. This essentially makes Herrera Beutler immune to a primary challenge from the MAGA right. WA is also a 100% mail-in voting state. In June 2022 the state will send out primary ballots to every registered voter in the district.  That primary ballot will have perhaps 10 candidates including Herrera Beutler, some prominent Dem that has rounded up the usual endorsements, and then an assortment of riffraff from Greens to Libertarians to right wing MAGA fringe candidates. It is inconceivable that Herrera Beutler will place 3rd or worse.  She has huge name recognition here and is always attaching her name to popular initiatives and then putting out press releases that the local media dutifully publishes. “Herrera-Beutler co-sponsors bill to expand child tax credit”  that sort of thing.  She will clean up among the vast suburban PTA mom independent voters who already liked her and like her more now. The 20% of rabid MAGA voters around here have zero chance of primarying her because it isn’t a closed GOP primary.  In fact they are so disorganized and idiotic that they won’t be able to coalesce around a single primary challenger anyway. There will probably be 3 or 4 of them all on the same primary ballot.

Second, Clark County (Vancouver) is one of the fastest growing urban areas of the state. This is essentially suburban Portland.  In the next redistricting coming soon, WA-3rd is likely to shrink geographically and become more of a suburban Portland district rather than a giant sprawling semi-rural SW Washington district that it is now. Especially if WA gets another congressional seat.  Which means if Herrera Beutler wants to survive in this district she needs to adapt to a purple district that will continue to trend further blue every year.

Unlike Republicans in other states, she has nothing to fear from her right flank and everything to fear from a well funded Dem challenger in a rapidly bluing district.  

Will Trump be back?

Today the Senate acquitted him in his impeachment trial. The former president responded with this statement:

I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth.

My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.

Our cherished Constitutional Republic was founded on the impartial rule of law, the indispensable safeguard for our liberties, our rights and our freedoms. 

It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree. I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate. 

This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago. 

I also want to convey my gratitude to the millions of decent, hardworking, law-abiding, God-and-Country loving citizens who have bravely supported these important principles in these very difficult and challenging times.  

Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!

We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future. 

Together there is nothing we cannot accomplish. 

We remain one People, one family, and one glorious nation under God, and it’s our responsibility to preserve this magnificent inheritance for our children and for generations of Americans to come.

May God bless all of you, and may God forever bless the United States of America.

The president promises to be back. But will he? CNN is reporting that Trump is worried about criminal prosecution. Here is Kaitlyn Collins:

Former President Donald Trump has privately voiced concern in the last two weeks about whether he could face charges as a result of the January 6 riot he’s accused of inciting, according to multiple people.Trump has mainly been quiet since leaving the White House last month, and his silence has been in part related to those concerns.”He’s worried about it,” one adviser close to Trump told CNN.

Read the rest here.

Trump is acquitted by a vote of 57-43 in the United States Senate

Fifty-seven U.S. Senators voted to convict Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. But it was not enough. Sixty-seven voters were needed to convict.

Here are the GOP members who broke with their party and voted to convict Donald Trump in his impeachment trial:

Richard Burr (NC)

Bill Cassidy (LA)

Susan Collins (ME)

Lisa Murkowski (AK)

Mitt Romney (UT)

Ben Sasse (NE)

Pat Toomey (PA)

I am grateful for these courageous Republicans and I am proud of my Senator Pat Toomey.

But I am embarrassed to be an American today. I continue to feel betrayed by my fellow evangelicals. So many of them are responsible for empowering Trump and the Senators who voted to acquit him today. I feel a lot like I did back in November 2016.