In an interview with conservative Catholic television network EWTN Tuesday, President Donald Trump charged that Democrats “want to put the churches out of business” and “never want them open.” Trump’s charges were an explicit example of his campaign adopting religious-right rhetoric portraying liberals and Democrats as enemies of faith and freedom.
“You have some states, I think they never want them open,” Trump said. “They don’t want churches open. Look, the Democrats, frankly, if you look at the radical left, Democrats, which are the radical left now, they’ve gone radical left. Whether you’re talking about life or whether you’re talking about almost anything, they’re not liking it. They’re not liking it.”
The interview showcased Trump’s meandering style and obsession with promoting his own greatness. Asked what could be done to stop a recent rash of vandalism against churches, Trump said it is not a problem in places with Republican governors and mayors, and he pivoted to a partisan political message. He told EWTN:
Well, what you need is you need the law enforcement. It’s areas usually run by radical left Democrats. I mean, where you have Republican leadership, where you have Republican governors and mayors, you don’t have this problem. You have this problem where you have radical left Democrats in virtually every instance. So what you have to do is elect Republicans. And if you had a Republican, as an example, if Biden got in, you’d have Portland all over our country. It would be like Portland. These people are agitators. They’re anarchists. You’d have that all over our country. You know, we stopped it, we stepped in and a lot of people said we were early. Well, let us be early. Better early than late. But we did a good job there. We did a great job in Seattle that would have been burned to the ground, frankly. But with Portland, and we didn’t do our big job, we did a much smaller job. We had to protect our building, and our buildings, actually, a number of buildings. But the courthouse would have been burned down. The courthouse would have been destroyed if we didn’t step in. People said, “Oh, we went early.” Well, if we didn’t go then, the courthouse would have been destroyed because Seattle was not protecting it. So you would have that situation all over the United States. And that’s unacceptable.
Trump also patted himself on the back for doing “very well” dealing with the “China virus” pandemic and predicted “a very special economy” next year.
When EWTN anchor Tracy Sabol closed the interview by asking if there was “one message” Trump wanted to deliver to viewers, Trump said they have to vote for him based on abortion and guns. He told Sabol:
Well, I think anybody having to do with, frankly, religion, but certainly the Catholic Church, you have to be with President Trump when it comes to pro-life, when it comes to all of the things, these people are going to take all of your rights away, including Second Amendment, because, you know, Catholics like their Second Amendment. So I saved the Second Amendment. If I wasn’t here, you wouldn’t have a Second Amendment. And pro-life is your big thing and you won’t be on that side of the issue, I guarantee, if the radical left, because they’re going to take over, they’re going to push him around like he was nothing.
EWTN is a media operation that, in addition to the television network, includes a book publishing arm, the right-wing National Catholic Register, and the Catholic News Agency, whose names are similar to the more progressive independent National Catholic Reporter and the U.S. church’s official Catholic News Service. Last year, National Catholic Reporter profiled EWTN and its influential right-wing donor networks as part of a four-part series on money in the church. Reporter Heidi Schlumpf noted, “A truly global media empire that has given favorable coverage to Republican politicians and the Trump White House, EWTN also is the media star in a web of connections among wealthy conservative Catholics donors and even some anti-Pope Francis extremists.”