George Conway, the man whom no one would know of were it not for his successful wife, hates President Trump. Few care. But we do care when his mania seeks to drive a wedge between Catholics and evangelicals. That is exactly what his latest video attempts to do.
The Lincoln Project, of which Conway is a part, has posted a video online that portrays evangelicals as hypocrites for backing such an un-Christian man like President Trump. There is one part of the video—all the clips are spliced together in classic out-of-context form—that is particularly offensive. It implies that Trump (who was a presidential candidate at the time) called the pope a a derogatory term. He never did.
On February 18, 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump said the following about Pope Francis: “I respect the pope, and I love the pope in many ways. I love what he stands for, and I like his attitude. He’s very independent, and he’s very different. He’s sort of a modern day pope if you think about it.”
Later that same day, Pope Francis was interviewed by reporters on the papal plane. A reporter from Reuters misrepresented Trump’s position on immigration, and then asked the pope “if an American Catholic can vote for someone like this.” The pope replied, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” He added an important caveat, saying, “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that…and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.” (My italics.)
In the video, it shows Trump’s reply to what the media portrayed as an attack on him by the pope. Here is that part of the video.
Trump: “The pope would have only wished and prayed…”
Rev. Ramiro Peña: “Thank you, sir, for uniting our Nation and calling us to prayer…”
Trump: “that Donald Trump would have been president…”
Rev. Robert Jeffress: “I think the pope needs to seek Donald Trump’s forgiveness.”
Trump: “He’s a (derogatory term).”
The video makes it seem as though Trump said this about the pope. He did not. It is a vicious lie. [Note: At the time, I criticized Jeffress for what he said, and I also criticized Sean Hannity for agreeing with Jeffress on his show.]
Here is what Trump said at the time: “If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened.”
This is an entirely different understanding of what the two men said.
Inexcusably, it has been cruelly manipulated by Conway to slam the president. But if that is all it did, it would not interest the Catholic League.
What angers us is the deliberate attempt to drive a wedge between Catholics and evangelicals.
The video suggests that Trump used a vulgar term to describe the pope, which he never did (in point of fact, Trump’s comment was actually a restatement of what a woman said about Sen. Ted Cruz at a rally).
This kind of propaganda—it is vintage Catholic baiting—by George Conway tells us much about the man. He wants Catholics to think that Trump insulted the pope, thus driving them away from the president’s evangelical supporters. The man must be desperate to stoop this low.
Contact Conway at his law firm: [email protected]