09 January 2020, The Tablet

Trump: the great evangelical pretender


US election year

Trump: the great evangelical pretender

President Trump at an ‘Evangelicals for Trump’ rally in Florida on Friday 3 January
PA/Pedro Protal, TNS via ZUMA Wire

 

Four hundred years after the Mayflower pilgrims landed in the New World, white evangelical Christians played a vital part in the election of the current President. Donald Trump’s re-election depends on maintaining their trust

In one of President Donald Trump’s final actions of 2019, he proclaimed January “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month”.

“Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery,” his proclamation stated. “Human trafficking erodes personal dignity and destroys the moral fabric of society. It is an affront to humanity that tragically reaches all parts of the world, including communities across our Nation.”
This was not his first such declaration, nor was he the first US president to name the month of January in this way. On 22 December 2010 then President Barack Obama named January 2011 as dedicated to the prevention of slavery and human trafficking, and the tradition has continued.

But Trump’s declarations for 2019 and 2020 have interesting differences. In the proclamation he issued just over a year ago, on 31 December 2018, he linked ending human trafficking to building a border wall, writing: “I have made it a top priority to fully secure our Nation’s Southwest border, including through the continued construction of a physical wall, so that we can stop human trafficking and stem the flow of deadly drugs and criminals into our country.”

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