President Donald Trump's most dedicated group of supporters are white Evangelical Christians. Exit polls indicated that 80% of Evangelicals voted for Trump in the 2016 election, despite his infamous comments encouraging violence and sexual assault.
But urging a foreign leader to announce a politically motivated investigation in exchange for congressionally approved military aid proved to be a step too far for the folks at Christianity Today, a popular Evangelical magazine.
From Christianity Today’s editor in chief https://t.co/NVdQjg4odC— Christianity Today (@Christianity Today) 1576791907.0
The piece heavily criticizes Trump's corrupt dealings with Ukraine policy.
"The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president's moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president's positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character."
As well as his Twitter feed.
"His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused."
Noting its similar positions during the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton and the would-be impeachment of former President Richard Nixon, the piece fervently called for Trump's removal from office.
"Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments."
The piece does allow a few concessions for the President, claiming that Democrats "had it out" for Trump "from day one," and (falsely) claimed that Trump was never given a serious opportunity to rebut the findings of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation before the House Judiciary Committee.
Trump soon took to his favorite platform to address the piece, and it's safe to say he didn't turn the other cheek.
A far left magazine, or very “progressive,” as some would call it, which has been doing poorly and hasn’t been invo… https://t.co/SCcuDiCNyl— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1576843978.0
....have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your Preside… https://t.co/9GYEGIvhDo— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1576843979.0
Saying he wouldn't read "ET" again, Trump appeared to confuse Christianity Today with Entertainment Tonight.
Notably, Christianity Today was founded by the late Evangelical pastor Billy Graham, whose son—Franklin Graham—is one of Trump's most vocal supporters.
After the article's publication, Graham tweeted in defense of the President, invoking his father.
.@CTMagazine released an editorial saying @POTUS Trump should be removed from office & they invoked my father’s nam… https://t.co/PNoKu2c53P— Franklin Graham (@Franklin Graham) 1576826590.0
I hadn’t shared who my father @BillyGraham voted for in 2016, but because of @CTMagazine’s article, I felt it neces… https://t.co/UPOHOdthbo— Franklin Graham (@Franklin Graham) 1576826817.0
But many sang the op-ed's praises.
This isn't some liberal rag, by the way. This is Billy Graham's editorial. And as a Christ follower, I loved Billy… https://t.co/XGTo2vYQRF— Harrison Nugent (@Harrison Nugent) 1576806267.0
This is so impressive https://t.co/2of9o1Egc6— Michelle Goldberg (@Michelle Goldberg) 1576797680.0
I know that they will get pushback from all directions for doing this. I am glad to be one of their writers, and I… https://t.co/O9JJWbTz9g— Esau McCaulley Ph.D (@Esau McCaulley Ph.D) 1576796852.0
I’m thankful for a major evangelical organization finally calling a spade a spade. Better late, than never.… https://t.co/Owf9mJa03x— Jamie B. Golden (@Jamie B. Golden) 1576814099.0
Finally, the evangelicals are coming to their senses. https://t.co/irUDYOPryn— Jeannie (@Jeannie) 1576807721.0
Thank you @CTmagazine and @Markgalli for being a courageous voice in the wilderness. I earnestly hope it brings oth… https://t.co/bcGHmf9tyK— Mike Holl (@Mike Holl) 1576800946.0
But some Evangelicals claimed the criticisms were "fake news."
There is a RINO group of Republicans who are so called Christian's. It took me a few years to realize they are Rino… https://t.co/avOrNvuABI— ⚘Isolde Vinitalia⚘ (@⚘Isolde Vinitalia⚘) 1576812937.0
Well, Christianity Today finally found a way to get Liberals to read their magazine by bashing the President. I as… https://t.co/7XlMyWIZ0C— Bradley Scott 🙏🇺🇸 (@Bradley Scott 🙏🇺🇸) 1576853332.0
They can congratulate themselves 4 making it harder 4 all Christians to defend the life of the unborn, stop PP's se… https://t.co/CjMmh4dwmi— patriot4usa (@patriot4usa) 1576806763.0
It's unclear what, if any, effect this will have on Trump's Evangelical support, but it's a notable development in a base that just might be fracturing.