Salena Zito: 'Not a morally upstanding guy,' yet Trump has the love of millions of Christian conservatives

KENOSHA, Wis. — Jill Gilmore is one of those voters who have confounded both Democrats and Never Trump Republicans the most. She is a college-educated, gun-owning female conservative Republican who voted for Donald Trump. But here’s the real kicker: She is also a devout Evangelical Christian.

“In the list of what is most important to myself and my family, faith is always first,” said the striking 34-year-old mother of seven, small business owner, and community volunteer who says she and her husband teach their children daily that behavior and respect towards others is not an option, but a requirement.

Contrast the Gilmore Golden Rule with her vote for Donald Trump — who is accused of an affair with a porn star, and who does not have a reputation for politeness and respect for others — and her decision stuns the sensibilities of both his resisters and experts.

From their perch they see a moral conflict, but she sees her support for Trump as a pragmatic, not ideological, decision. This was a calculation made by millions of religious conservatives, a cadre my co-author Brad Todd and I call the “King Cyrus Conservatives” in The Great Revolt.

Gilmore sees that calculation as paying off, especially now.

“I don't agree with President Trump’s morality. But that doesn't make him a good or a bad president,” she says. “I couldn't agree more with what he's done since he has been in office.” Gilmore listed tax reform, job creation, decreased regulations, talks with North Korea, and his Supreme Court pick of Neil Gorsuch among other acts.

“He's moved this country forward, he's kept his promises that he made on the campaign. I am much more pleased with him than I thought I would be,” she said.

Gilmore was in particularly thrilled with last week’s Supreme Court 7-2 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy where the court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker and owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, stating that tolerance goes both ways, and that he could not be could be forced by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to design a cake for a ceremony he said contradicted his religious belief system.

It should be noted that the court did limit its decision to the specific ruling by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Justice Kennedy said the commission relied on a “ hostility” towards religion which is forbidden by the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution.

For Gilmore, the ruling was a step in the preserving religious liberty, “The court acknowledged, at least some religious liberty for Christian businesses to not have to participate in same-sex wedding based on their belief system that has been in place for thousands of years,” she said.

“But it is only a start. The ruling left a lot of holes that need to be addressed in the near future. Which comes back to why I felt it was important to support Trump for president. The appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court was incredibly important, and going forward it is clear as religious liberties and individual rights will continue their tug of war with power of the government and this will come back up again,” she explained.

“And he will place more conservatives on the bench to stand up for those freedoms.”

Since the 2016 primary contests, Trump has astonished with his strength among fundamentalist Christians, Catholics, and evangelical voters.

His appeal was two-fold. First, he wasn’t Hillary Clinton. But it is what he is that really cemented the deal with voters like Gilmore. He is someone willing to actually fight back in the culture war in which religious voters have felt under siege for years.

“He promised to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with a conservative, he thanked us for our support when the first major accomplishment he had as president was the confirmation of Gorsuch to the highest court in the land,” she said.

Gilmore has no problem drawing the line between Trump’s personal behavior and his accomplishments and proposals in the White House. She adds to the list: prison reform, a policy proposal that prevents federal family-planning funds from going to Planned Parenthood, moving the new embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, his moving and historic speech during the March for Life, marking the first time a sitting U.S. president directly addressed the pro-life rally in Washington.

Gilmore and her husband do not have their head in the sand about Trump’s comportment, and they are honest with their children about it, “We openly talk with our kids about it. And they know why we voted for President Trump. They understand that he is not morally upstanding guy. They get that. They also understand that he aligns with our beliefs of religious freedom in America, sanctity of life,” she said.

What drove Gilmore and the millions like her to Trump? It was the decades of attacks on their values not just by politicians, but also businesses, government, Hollywood, entertainment and pop-culture that made them go for the guy who was going to go to the mattresses for their liberties, but probably won’t sit in a pew with them.


Fox News’ Charles Krauthammer Says He Has Weeks to Live After Cancer Returns: ‘My Fight Is Over’

Fox News political analyst Charles Krauthammer said on Friday that he only has weeks left to live after learning that his cancer has returned and that he’s in final stages of a losing battle.

The 68-year-old psychiatric physician turned Pulitzer Prize-winning analyst wrote a letter, which Fox News reported, explaining that for nearly a year, he’s battled an abdominal tumor and subsequent complications following what was thought to be a successful surgery to remove the tumor.

“I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me,” Krauthammer said in the letter. “It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health. However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned.

“My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”

Krauthammer graduated from Harvard medical school in 1975 after a diving accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. He began his career in medicine before going on to work for PBS, The New Republic and winning a Pulitzer Prize with The Washington Post.

Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News, said Krauthammer brought a profound intellect to Fox News.

“His always principled stand on the most important issues of our time has been a guiding star in an often turbulent world, a world that has too many superficial thinkers vulnerable to the ebb and flow of fashion, and a world that, unfortunately, has only one Charles Krauthammer,” Murdoch said in a statement. “His words, his ideas, his dignity and his integrity will resonate within our society and within me for many, many years to come.”

Krauthammer said in his note there was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly.

“I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living,” he said. “I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”



John Kelly Says The White House Is A ‘Miserable’ Place To Work: Report

Kelly’s tenure in the Trump administration has been rocky for months.

Several White House aides have considered leaving the Trump administration in the near future, including chief of staff John Kelly, who reportedly called the building a “miserable place to work” last week.

Kelly made the comments to a visiting group of senators and has questioned how long he can work for the president, The New York Times wrote on Sunday. Joe Hagin, one of Kelly’s deputies and the point person arranging the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has also considered departing.

The Times notes people close to Trump have said the president isn’t worried about what’s expected to be an exodus of staffers after the upcoming midterm elections in November, but rather sees the chaotic atmosphere as beneficial. Turnover in the Trump White House is among the highest in modern history as senior officials have been forced to resign, fired amid scandalous behavior or, much less frequently, left voluntarily.

“This is how he won,” Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, told the Times. “This is how he governs, and this is his ‘superpower.’ Drama, action, emotional power.”

Kelly’s own tenure for the past year has been rocky.

Initially seen as an enforcer meant to rein in Trump’s unusual behavior, he has fallen out of favor with the president and even reportedly called Trump an “idiot” in front of other aides. He has frequently threatened to quit as a means to get the president to listen to him, but has also backed away from some of his managerial duties and sources described his demeanor as “beaten down” to the Times. 

The White House’s new deputy chief of staff, Zachary Fuentes, has also earned the nickname “deputy president” in mockery after he took over some of Kelly’s duties.

Despite the conflicts, Kelly has reached a detente with Trump and traveled with the president to both the G7 summit and the president’s meeting with Kim in Singapore.

Hagin, the aide who helped organize the Kim meeting, is also planning to leave the administration soon, possibly after the summit is over, The Washington Post reported earlier this month. The outlet notes that Hagin has also told confidants he’s struggled with the chaos shrouding the White House.





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