Republican Sen. James Lankford told CBS Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan he doesn't believe Trump's a good role model for young people, but got a complete pass on how he reconciles calling himself a Christian while supporting a man like Trump.
December 30, 2019

During an interview on this Sunday's Face the Nation, host Margaret Brennan had a discussion with Senators Chris Coons and James Lankford about their Wednesday morning prayer group, which of course was lauded because there's nothing our Beltway media loves more than some feel-good story about bipartisanship. That is, as long as it means being allowed to completely ignore most of the policy issues which have a real impact on their constituents lives, and instead gush about how wonderful it is that people are capable of simply interacting with each other like normal human beings.

I don't know about anyone else, but I find it very hard listening to someone who claims to care about their faith and claims that faith "is not a hobby" in one breath turn around and justify supporting someone like Donald Trump in the next. Brennan asked Lankford about Republicans' claims during the Clinton impeachment that the president of the United States should be a moral leader, and asked him "What has changed?" now with the lack of any "loud criticism" of Trump from the GOP, and allowed Lankford a complete pass on the majority of Trump's very unChristian-like behavior. Here's Lankford's response:

SEN. LANKFORD: Yeah. There- I'm not sure anything has changed. I think there is still this ongoing conversation about policy and about responsible leadership and about role models. I- I said very early on in the campaign time period when people asked me in 2016, what are you looking for?

I said well, I always look for a president who can be a role model. I don't think that President Trump as a person is a role model for a lot of different youth, that's just me personally. I don't like the way that he tweets, some of the things that he says, his word choices at times are not my word choices.

He comes across with more New York City swagger than I do from the Midwest and definitely not the way that I'm raising my kids. Saying that, there are policy areas that we agree on and when we agree on those things we work on those things together. But it's also been a grand challenge to be able to say, for a person of faith, for a person who believes that there is a right way to go on things I- I wish that he did. And he was more of a role model in those areas.

Now, saying all that, on the area of life where I'm very passionate about, on the issues of abortion, for instance. He's been tenaciously pro-life. He's focused on putting people around him that are very focused on religious liberty, not honoring a particular faith, but honoring any person of any faith to go be able to live and practice that faith and to have respect for that. That's helpful for any person of faith. And to be able to say, give me the space to be able to live my faith and to be able to put people into the administration that will also allow that and encourage that.

So for people of faith, it's a bit of a conundrum at times that I look at some of the moral decisions that he's made and go, I disagree with that. But he's also been very, very protective of areas like life and very protective of areas of religious liberty to be able to allow people to be able to live their faith out. And at the end of the day, what we're really looking for in an administration is folks that allow us to be able to live our principles.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Has that been hard for you as a person who talks about living his faith? Is it hard for you at times?

SEN. LANKFORD: It- it- it is not hard for me to be able to live that out because my first responsibility is for myself and for my family and we're going to live that out--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But then you get asked by people like me--

SEN. LANKFORD: That's correct.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --how could you support this?


MARGARET BRENNAN: How could you support that?

SEN. LANKFORD: It- it is the most interesting question that I get almost every day when I walk through anywhere in the Capitol, someone from the press will say, the president just tweeted out this. What do you think about it? And put it- put a microphone in my face and say, answer for any kind of moral statement or he just said a curse word in a public setting. I know you're a person of faith. Go answer for this. Again, the president has a spokesperson, and I'm not the president's spokesperson.

I have a responsibility for myself and my team and for what my family's going to do. And then I'm also going to try to set what I believe is the right role model. Everyone has a task here. And one of the interesting things about Washington, D.C. is I don't get to pick the people that I work with. The American people pick the people that I work with. And then my responsibility is to be able to get things done in that environment that I think drive home a set of values and a set of policies that help the nation long term.

So in other words, he's sold his soul for their right-wing judges, school prayer, and the rest of the laundry list of items Trump had delivered to Lankford and his ilk in the religious right that worships him. Not one iota of followup by Brennan on how someone squares calling themselves a Christian and supporting a man who cheated on all of his wives, who has bragged about sexual assault, been accused of sexual assault by 16 different women, been credibly accused of rape, put kids in cages, paid off porn stars, rips people off with his charities and fake universities, and on and on and on.

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