In bridge, a trump card is held in reserve for winning a trick. In politics, Donald Trump is anything but reserved and appears to think he might trick enough voters to win the next presidential election.
There's plenty to draw on when critiquing a possible Trump candidacy. His multiple marriages (three) and affairs provide fodder for the media and contrast poorly with President Obama's "family values" image as husband of one wife and father of young daughters, whom he clearly loves.
In recent weeks, Trump has been trying to gain a toehold in the evangelical community, which is especially influential in Iowa, where caucuses begin the process of nominating a presidential candidate.
In an interview with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump described Christianity as "a wonderful religion." In answer to a question about his faith, Trump said, "I believe in God. I am Christian. I think the Bible is certainly, it is 'the' book. It is the thing."
To evangelical ears, that lacks substance. While a candidate's faith should matter only if it affects policy, if someone wishes to use his or her faith to win votes, then voters ought to be able to judge the depth of that faith as a means of determining their credibility.
What should we make of Trump telling Brody that people send him Bibles all the time and that he stores them "in a very nice place"? "There is no way I would ever throw anything, to do anything negative to a Bible. I would have a fear of doing something other than very positive so actually I store them and keep them and sometimes give them away to other people."
Does he read the Bible and believe what it says? How about the parts concerning marriage, divorce and fornication? Would that be something Trump should take to heart? Brody didn't ask and Trump didn't volunteer. He did say he goes to church "as much as I can. Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there's a major occasion." Christians know a lot of people who attend church only on Christmas and Easter and special occasions. They are usually not serious about their faith. Not to judge, but if Trump intends to use faith to win votes from people of faith, then those people have a right to determine whether he is sincere or simply trying to manipulate them.
Trump also appears shifty when it comes to judging our "worst" president. In 2007, Trump said President George W. Bush was "the worst president ever." In 2008, he said Bush should be impeached and that he was "impressed" by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But this year he says President Obama is "the worst president ever." He is also on record as saying Jimmy Carter was the worst president.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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