The Washington Post is reporting that the evangelical magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham published a surprising editorial Thursday calling for President Trump’s removal and describing him as “a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
“Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment,” said the piece, written by editor in chief Mark Galli. “
That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”
Galli, who will retire from the magazine Jan. 3, wrote that the facts leading to Wednesday’s impeachment of Trump are unambiguous.
“The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” Galli wrote. “That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”
But the editorial didn’t just call out Trump. It called out his devout Christian supporters.
“To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve,” Galli wrote. “Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior.”
Trump lashed out at the magazine in a pair of early-morning tweets Friday, calling Christianity Today a “far left magazine … which has been doing poorly.”
He added that “no President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close.”
Trump tweeted again on Friday that he assumes the magazine supports a Democrat, and he noted the transactional relationship he has had with evangelicals.
Galli told The Post on Friday morning that Trump had mischaracterized the magazine, which considers itself centrist or possibly center-right.
“Nobody considers us as far-left,” Galli said. “We don’t comment on larger national issues except when they rise to a level of moral influence. … That’s not who we are.”
Galli said the magazine struggled financially during the recession, as did many media outlets, but is on strong footing with donations and subscriptions now.
He agreed that Trump has pleased the evangelical community when it comes to policy decisions on abortion and religious freedom. But Galli compared evangelicals to a wife in an abusive marriage where the husband is a reliable provider.
“When that husband starts to become violent and physically abusive, the scales don’t balance,” Galli said. “It’s time for him to get out of the house. That’s what I’m saying about the Trump presidency.”
He said since the magazine published the piece last night, the emails he has received have been overwhelmingly positive, although he did get one threat.
Christianity Today has been critical of Trump before but has not argued against his presidency in such stark, moral terms. The magazine has always prided itself in drawing readers on both the right and the left, including Hillary Clinton when she was first lady. Graham, the founder, had close friendships with several presidents before he died in 2018, but said late in his life that he wished he had distanced himself more politically.
Graham’s son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, has been a highly vocal supporter of Trump and prayed at his inauguration. In an interview, Franklin Graham, who is not involved with Christianity Today, said his father would have been disappointed by the magazine’s stance. He said his father liked Trump and they were friends.
“He would’ve been very embarrassed that the magazine he started would call for something like this when there are no crimes committed,” said Graham, who had not read the editorial but saw the headline. “It’s a totally different magazine than what he started.”
Graham also wrote on Facebook that he had “not previously shared who my father voted for in the past election, but because of this article, I feel it is necessary to share it now. My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.”