Asked about his Christian faith this past summer while appearing before an auditorium full of Iowa evangelicals, Donald Trump responded like so: “When I drink my little wine … and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,” he said then. “I think in terms of ‘Let’s go on and let’s make it right.’ ” That communion-themed answer is what makes what Trump did this past Sunday at a church in Council Bluffs, Iowa, that much more absurd, via the Associated Press:
[Trump], his wife, Melania, and two staffers took communion when it was passed. But Trump, momentarily confused, mistook the silver plates circulated around the auditorium and dug several bills out of his pocket. “I thought it was for offering,” he said with a laugh to his staff. He contributed several minutes later when the offering plates were passed.
The previous Sunday, Trump’s evangelical outreach-by-donation went slightly smoother. According to the New York Times, he “showed up for church … with photographers trailing, sat quietly through the 60-minute service” and “left two crisp $50 bills in the collection plate.”
The vast majority of Iowa’s evangelical leaders have rallied around Trump’s chief caucus rival, Ted Cruz, who as the son of a pastor has always appeared significantly more at home in a church than Trump ever has. Despite that, though, the New York tycoon remains remarkably popular with white evangelicals—something that continues to baffle and frustrate leaders of the Christian right. An NBC News/Survey Monkey tracking poll released last week, for instance, showed Trump with nearly twice the support from white evangelical conservatives nationally than Cruz has, 37 percent to 20 percent.
Elsewhere in Slate:
- Evangelical Power Brokers Are Losing Their Influence. Trump Is the Proof.
- Tonight in Iowa, We’ll Finally Find Out Whether Trump Is for Real
- Iowa Is the Must-Win Contest for Bernie Sanders