The feud between Donald Trump and Rep. Frederica Wilson has been ugly. (While all of Trump’s feuds are ugly, this is uglier than most) Particularly disappointing have been the disparaging attacks directed at Wilson herself. On that score the biggest disappointment was no doubt John Kelly’s decision to disparage her as an “empty barrel” and to spread falsehoods about her. But if that was the most disappointing attack, in my opinion the ugliest attack — at least in mainstream media interviews — came on Fox Business:
“It is the height of hypocrisy for this whacko [sic] rhinestone-cowboy congresswoman to accuse the president of insensitivity when, in fact, she’s the one who is exploiting the widow’s pain for her own partisan gain.” (source)
I don’t claim that Wilson is without fault in this whole matter. But I will also point out that her comments were borne by a long term, deeply personal relationship with this specific family. And I’ll also add that her choice in headwear is informed by her love of and desire to emulate her grandmother. And of course, this whole sorry spiral began when Trump criticized Barack Obama, so to charge Wilson with hypocrisy for partisan gain is a bit rich.
And who was the nasty speaker of this callow insult? It was Robert Jeffress, a fundamentalist Baptist pastor and author of a new book on heaven (one that will no doubt sell many more copies than mine, not least because it has Trump’s personal endorsement).
Think about that. A Caucasian Baptist pastor attacked a respected black female politician, one who is beloved of her constituents and who has a noble history of social action, by disparaging her as a “wacko rhinestone-cowboy congresswoman”.
But why am I surprised? Among other things, Jeffress has called the Catholic Church the “whore of Babylon” as it reflects the “genius of Satan”; and he has insisted that 9/11 reflects God’s judgment for abortion. (source)
All this is ugly indeed. I might have found some solace, however, if I knew that Jeffress pastored but a few dozen people. On the contrary, his church boasts over 12,000 congregants on a weekend. That’s 12,000 people who are sufficiently comfortable with a lead pastor who behaves in this grotesque manner.
And that’s 12,000 reasons to be depressed.