Explainer: Trump and the Politics of the Messiah
(RNS) — Does President Trump have a Messiah complex?
No, according to some of his most loyal evangelical Christian supporters — but one could see how he might get the idea that he is here to save the world.
On Wednesday morning (Aug. 21), Trump tweeted a long quote from an admirer who claimed that Israeli Jews love the president like “the King of Israel” and that he is the “second coming of God.”
The comments — from libertarian talk show host Wayne Allyn Root, known for his support of conspiracy theories — were an apparent attempt to defend the president after he said the day before that American Jews who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
But when, just hours later, Trump pronounced himself “the chosen one” during a discussion with reporters about China and trade, it seemed to unnerve even his evangelical base. It also sent “King of Israel,” “King of the Jews” and “antichrist” trending on Twitter in the United States.
By Thursday, some evangelical leaders were reassuring followers that Trump had no delusions about the nature of his mission. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and an adviser to the White House, said in a radio interview, “He does not see himself as the Messiah.”
Other religious thinkers fretted the president is all too ready to accept the role of savior.
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