Why was Eric Trump at the Reawaken America Rally? Only because he’s part of the Trump family. His “bio” in the program described him as “the son of America’s real President, President Donald J. Trump.” He was there to praise his father to this receptive, boisterous crowd. “We were the first honest family in the White House,” he claimed. He listed multiple achievements for Donald Trump as president, which brought shouts of support and loud applause. The audience believed all of it to be true.
Eric Trump started right in on the FBI “raid” of Mar-a-Lago because it had just happened and the people there were very aware of it. “Third world gestapo stuff,” he called it, continuing to feed the narrative of unfair treatment of Donald Trump. He used the language of this movement as he touched briefly on multiple topics, all of which are designed to heighten the passions of the crowd … “deep state” – “drain the swamp” – “rigged election” – “corrupt government officials.” Just the names of Hunter Biden, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton were enough to draw boos and jeers. He said that President Joe Biden “is the worst in the history of this country.“ And brought it to this climax: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have my father back who would actually fight for this country?”
People say all the time that “you can’t make this stuff up,” but they do, of course. Eric Trump did, touting one false claim after another. “This MAGA movement is the greatest movement in the history of the nation, and we’re winning. That’s why they’re raiding people’s homes and weaponzing everything in our country. We’re going to take back America.”
Before Eric Trump left the stage, organizer Clay Clark stepped up to say “I believe God has chosen the Trump family for this moment.” Standing ovation. And someone prayed for the family in very specific religious language and prayed against “the acts of the wicked that the enemy has done.” Although Eric did not use the religious language of the movement, nearly everyone else on stage did. And they could not let him off the stage without two other people doing exactly that. What Sarah Posner describes in her book, “Unholy,” (https://www.publishersweekly.com/9781984820426) accurately describes that moment and the whole event:
In that alternate, conspiratorial reality, any scrutiny of Trump or his inner circle is cast as a plot, deeply rooted in “fake news,” George Soros–funded protesters, Clinton family machinations, or even Satan, to bring down God’s chosen leader of the United States of America. (Posner, Sarah. Unholy (p. 247). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition)
I recommend this book to all who want to understand more about this movement. It’s not an isolated rally or tour event that’s our concern. We could let that go and move on. Christian Nationalism, combined with a larger political and cultural movement going back 50 years, and building internationally – this is not going away. It is a threat to democracy itself. Read carefully one more excerpt from Posner’s book:
And so an untold number of Trump’s evangelical supporters believe that God has anointed him, God will protect him, and God will smite his enemies. However his presidency ends, the fundamental damage it has inflicted on our democracy will not be healed overnight. His “base” is not an accident of his unconventional foray into politics, or a quirk of this particular political moment. The vast majority of white evangelicals are all in with Trump because he has given them political power and allowed them to carry out a Christian supremacist agenda, inextricably intertwined with his administration’s white nationalist agenda. Conspiracy theories and lies about the core of our democracy—separation of powers, a free and independent press, and the dedication of public servants—run rampant through their print and social media, podcasts, and television programs. The depth and durability of their fervor have disproven the mantra “the religious right is dead” again and again—and their ability to sustain a presidency in the face of unprecedented scandal is the most compelling evidence against that mantra yet. Trump’s white evangelical supporters make up an army of partisans decades in the making, and they will not quietly retreat in the face of defeat. (p. 266, Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition)