They’ll do it quickly and violently

The Times gives us a glimpse into the cozy little gathering of evangelicals and Trump on Monday.

President Trump warned evangelical leaders Monday night that Democrats “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently” if Republicans lose control of Congress in the midterm elections.

Violently. Violently. This is the guy who ranted about “American carnage” at his inauguration. This is the guy who, days into his administration, slapped an instant ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, which meant that people who were on the way here at the time were caught up in the ban. This is the guy who instituted a policy to steal children from their parents at the border. This is the guy who did as little as possible to help Puerto Rico after the hurricane, and threw rolls of paper towels at them in a photo op.This is the guy who brags about grabbing women by the pussy and getting away with it. This is the guy who bullies and threatens people on live tv. This is the guy who punched his own son to the floor because he wasn’t wearing a suit.

Reverse Victim and Offender.

“They will end everything immediately,” Mr. Trump said. “When you look at antifa,” he added, a term that describes militant leftist groups, “and you look at some of these groups, these are violent people.”

Reverse Victim and Offender.

The blunt warning — delivered to about 100 of the president’s most ardent supporters in the evangelical community — was the latest example of Mr. Trump’s attempts to use the specter of violence at the hands of his political opponents and to fan the flames of cultural divisions in the country.

In other words of his mob boss-style lies and threats.

…once reporters and television cameras were ushered out of the room, the president turned to the more pragmatic concerns, including how evangelical leaders can use their pulpits to help Republicans win in the midterm elections.

“I just ask you to go out and make sure all of your people vote,” Mr. Trump said. “Because if they don’t — it’s Nov. 6 — if they don’t vote we’re going to have a miserable two years and we’re going to have, frankly, a very hard period of time because then it just gets to be one election — you’re one election away from losing everything you’ve got.”

But churches are exempt from taxation, and that exemption is conditional on staying out of politics. Trump however claims he has fixed that.

Mr. Trump spent most of his private remarks to the group bragging about having gotten “rid of” the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 provision of tax law that threatened religious organizations, like churches, with the loss of tax-exempt status if they endorse or oppose political candidates.

The president recalled how he first learned about the Johnson Amendment at a meeting during the 2016 campaign, when several dozen pastors and ministers came to see him at Trump Tower in New York. He said he was pleased by the meeting because the religious leaders seemed to like him.

“I know when people like me,” Mr. Trump said. “I know when people don’t like me. You know, pretty good at that stuff. A lot of them like, and some don’t and that’s O.K. But this group really liked me.”

Mr. Trump said he told the religious leaders at that campaign meeting that he would oppose the Johnson Amendment if he won the presidency and “fight very hard to make sure that provision gets taken away.”

In fact, the president has fallen short of that promise.

Eliminating the provision in the law would require Congress to act. Instead, Mr. Trump signed an executive order in May 2017 directing the Internal Revenue Service not to aggressively pursue cases in which a church endorses a candidate or makes political donations.

Legal experts have said the I.R.S. has very rarely pursued such cases against churches, and religious leaders have often been outspoken about politics even if they have had to stop short of officially endorsing a candidate.

Which is scandalous, but hey, they’re religious leaders, so we have to pander to them at all times.

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