You can always count on Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) to allow his TDS to keep him from seeing the big picture. The anti-Trump lawmaker recently argued that people view the former president in the same way they view Jesus Christ.
During an appearance on MSNBC, Kinzinger complained about Trump’s popularity to host Alex Wagner about how much Trump’s supporters love him. Wagner brought up some of the letters the lawmaker received from family members castigating him for going full Orange Man Bad and questioned why conservatives were so gung-ho about ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).
“I’ve come to believe. Over the last year that people, more than even fearing death, we’re such a tribalistic people that they fear being kicked out of their tribe,” Kinzinger began.
He continued, arguing that Trump’s supporters “accept anything because now Republicanism or conservatism or Trumpism becomes your identity.”
Kinzinger also criticized pastors for “failing their congregation” and “pushing … Trumpism from the pulpit.”
Then, he said conservatives look at Trump as if he’s the Messiah. He said:
And you have people today that literally, I think, in their heart, they may not say it, but they equate Donald Trump with the person of Jesus Christ. And to them, if you even come out against this amazing man, Donald Trump, which is obviously quite flawed, you are coming out against Jesus, against their Christian values. When you go after their religion, that violates the depth of who they are.
— Alex Wagner Tonight (@WagnerTonight) August 17, 2022
Like Cheney, Kinzinger dedicated his entire political life to opposing the Orange Man What Is Bad™ after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol building. He was one of ten GOP representatives who voted to impeach Trump after he was already out of office and served on the Democrats’ House Select Jan. 6 Committee.
There is some truth to Kinzinger’s remarks, but there are serious flaws with his argument.
Yes, there are some folks on the right who seem to view Trump as a near God-like figure. I’ve seen their silly memes on social media several times. But, as Kinzinger knows, these people represent a very thin sliver of the overall conservative movement. Most on the right believe he is an effective, albeit flawed, leader. One only has to look at the reaction of the conservative base to Trump’s decision to endorse Dr. Oz to understand this.
But there is another element that Kinzinger missed.
While there is a tiny gaggle of people who worship Trump, there are far more on both the left and the right that revile him as much as Christians detest Satan. They hate him with a near-religious fervor. In fact, I tweeted about this very thing only a few days ago, and many of the comments prove my point:
🧵I can understand why people don't like Trump.
What I can't comprehend are the ones who despise him so much that he defines their politics.
The people who can't discuss the issues without bringing up the Orange Man What Is Bad™.
It's the obsession that vexes me.
— Jeff Charles (@JeffOnTheRight) August 15, 2022
Washington Post media activist Dana Milbank provided another example in September 2017 when he published an absurd op-ed claiming that President Trump was literally killing him. He attributed a series of health problems to Trump’s presidency and claimed his blood pressure was heightened because of the Orange Man What Is Bad™.
In fact, several high-profile Trump haters on Twitter compared the former president to Satan himself:
It’s weird to see Trump and McConnell fighting against each other. You’d think Satan would step in and remind them they’re both on the same side.
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) February 16, 2021
I can’t believe people are comparing Trump to Satan. Yes, he’s evil, but he’s certainly not as evil as Trump.
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) November 6, 2020
Hitler purged those not loyal to him like the GOP is doing with all like Liz Cheney who dared defy their Trump. Difference is Hitler used violence for what was called his “blood purge.” As of now GOP uses threats of violence and ballots. Is their next step a “blood purge”?
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) August 17, 2022
The spread of TDS became so pronounced that when President Trump’s brother passed away in 2020, the Trump-hating crowd caused the hashtag #WrongTrump to trend on Twitter.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) August 17, 2020
It is also worth noting that Trump is not the only president to be viewed in a Messianic light. Remember the religious devotion many on the left had for former President Barack Obama? Their zeal for him was so prominent that a school came under fire for having children sing a rendition of “Jesus Loves the Little Children” that replaced Christ with Obama.
Of course, anyone with an IQ higher than my shoe size can see that Kinzinger’s remarks were intended to paint most – if not all – Trump supporters as being religious whackjobs when it comes to the former president. But it is not difficult to see that this assertion is detached from reality. But it was a valiant effort on Kinzinger’s part, wasn’t it?