One of the less-told aspects of the run-up to the 2016 election is the extent to which Christian public figures lobbied each other in private correspondence to support or reject Donald Trump. The public saw the competing op-eds. My inbox filled with personal pleas. And if I had to identify the most common argument—one that was often different from the attempts to mobilize the public through fear of Hillary Clinton—it was an appeal to Evangelical Christian power.
“The Trump administration is going to hire thousands of people. We’ll fill his administration with conservative believers.” That sounds crass, but there was always an “and.”
“And that means we’ll pass better regulations, confirm better judges, and halt the secular left in its tracks.” The pursuit of power would yield justice, but there could be no justice without power.
The Trump administration delivered the power. The top levels of the bureaucracy filled with Evangelicals, and the administration granted an almost unprecedented amount of access to Evangelical activists. During the 2020 campaign, it was routine to read ministry leaders sharing their “personal” insights into Trump based on time spent in the Oval Office.