Robert Jeffress, one of President Trump’s most ardent evangelical supporters, was invited to lead the opening prayer at a White House “faith leaders briefing” on Thursday. Jeffress tweeted a photo of the event and declared that Trump “is without doubt the most consequential president since Lincoln.”
Jeffress made the same claim later on Thursday when he appeared with Lou Dobbs on Fox Business Network. The conversation with Dobbs was a remarkable display of Trump apologists’ alternative universe, in which the always-golf-playing Trump demonstrates an exceptional work ethic, the blustery shoot-from-the-hip Trump brings intelligent consideration to the issues, the immigrant-bashing and demeaning Trump agonizes over the fate of the Dreamers, and the habitually lying Trump has set a new standard of speaking honestly with the American people.
Here’s how Dobbs introduced the segment: “Joining me tonight to discuss the tense political climate sweeping across this country, driven by the fake-news, anti-Trump media and the radical left…”
Dobbs began by attacking the suggestion by members of the news media—which includes CNN chief Jeff Zucker— that Trump’s intensely divisive rhetoric might be connected somehow to the bombs sent to his frequent media and political targets. Jeffress leaped to decry the “absolutely gross hypocrisy from the left.”
“Donald Trump did not cause the divisions in this country,” Jeffress insisted. “He simply exposed divisions that have been there for decades.” (There may be some truth to that statement, though not necessarily in the way Jeffress intended; Trump has certainly opened the door to the open expression of racism and other bigotries that until recently had not been welcomed in public discourse.)
Jeffress gushed that “finally, we have a leader who’s unwilling to be bullied by the left.” Trump, he said, has given conservatives energy to stand up and double-down just like Trump does. “You’re seeing conservatives stand up and say like that ‘Network’ movie, ‘we’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to put up with this any longer.” (Well, something like that.)
“For once, you’ve got conservatives standing up to liberals, and that’s what’s causing this friction, and it’s a good thing in a way,” said Jeffress.
Asked by Dobbs about the caravan of migrants in Mexico, Jeffress declared, “God is the one who established borders. He is not an open borders kind of guy.”
Jeffress talked about having been in the Oval Office earlier in the day and said Trump “sends his greetings to the great Lou Dobbs.”
He said Trump will do “whatever it takes to protect this nation and that’s why people are rallying around our great president right now.”
“Have you ever seen a man as strong—I was going to say tough—but strong?” asked a starry-eyed Dobbs. “His strength in this! He is attacked, every day, savagely by all sorts of folks from every quarter, and I have never, ever, once talked to him in which he was either down or not focused on the future that he’s trying to build for this country and for, as he puts it, all Americans.” (Mr. Dobbs, meet Twitter.)
“I wish people could have been with me today,” said Jeffress. “He allowed me before we started our conservation to just sit in the Oval Office and watch him conduct the nation’s business.” Watching and listening to Trump at work would give people even greater confidence in the president, he said. “We’ve needed a leader like Donald Trump for a long time, and I say again, he is the most consequential president we have ever had since Abraham Lincoln.”
I think you’re exactly right, and he is setting the standard, as I’ve said on this broadcast a number of times. President Trump is setting the standard for all future presidents—his work ethic, the intelligence he brings to the issues. And I hope, and I hope, that we can count on all presidents going forward to speak as plainly and directly and honestly to the American people as does this president.
And all that, they said, in spite of the “unprecedented headwinds” Trump faces from the Democrats and the Federal Reserve.
“No telling what he could do if he had a completely cooperative Senate and House of Representatives,” said Jeffress.
“And a national left-wing media that for a moment could credit this man for his unprecedented achievements,” Dobbs added.