Starting with Jerry Falwell Jr., large elements of the Christian right have rallied behind Donald Trump. Falwell and the rest of them — along with Mike Pence, who insists he is “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” and any GOP member of Congress, current or past, who insisted that a man of former president Bill Clinton’s character did not belong in the White House — have to ask themselves if they want to emerge from this election cycle with any self-respect.
“I did try and f— her. She was married,” Trump said to NBC’s Billy Bush, according to an audio tape obtained by The Post’s David Fahrenthold and released Friday. “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married,” he continued.
“It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump said. “And when you’re a star they let you do it,” he said. “You can do anything,” he continued. “Grab them by the p—y.”
Trump apparently thinks this looks bad. “I apologize if anyone was offended,” he responded in a statement. As an expression of remorse, this is pathetic. But even this attenuated sort of apology is rare for Trump.
If Trump were some other candidate, with deep experience in public life, an otherwise steady temperament, a serious policy agenda or some other significant qualification for the White House, a release such as Friday’s would rightly reignite the debate about how much a candidate’s private life should affect voters’ judgments about his suitability for high office. But we do not need to have that debate about Trump. He has no such distinctions to weigh.
Do Christian leaders and voters who claim to prioritize morality and character care about partisanship, identity — or actual principles? Now more than ever, it seems that question will be on the ballot in November. In fact, it is in front of them now. It is long past time for anyone who has ever had a sanctimonious moment — let alone those who have built careers on self-righteousness — to renounce the disgusting personality an astonishing number of Americans have embraced.