An Open Letter to Donald Trump after the National Prayer Breakfast (from a guy who voted for you . . .)

Dear Mr. President,

         I am writing an open letter to you because you understand social media and because I have at least a chance you might read this.  As I write, we are less than a year away from the election that will either give you a second term or send you into the less distinguished ranks of defeated presidents.  But why do I write to you in the first place?  I want to straighten things out between you and the evangelicals the press ties to you like a gun in a holster on your hip.

         When you ran for the Republican nomination in 2015 and 2016, I thought you were completely out of your league.  I didn’t think you had the knowledge, the network, or the support to become a president.  On the other hand, I always gave you credit that others denied.  I know it takes an impressive person to figure out how to build skyscrapers in the great cities of the world.  But I’ll be straight with you.  I opposed you all the way to the bitter end of the nominating process.  I voted for Marco Rubio, but Ted Cruz was right next to him in my mind.  And then I would have voted for every single one of your opponents before you.  I remember begging people not to vote for you during the primary season.

         When you carried the Republican flag against Hillary Clinton, I sometimes believed the whole thing was an elaborate conspiracy designed to elect her.  I doubted you on judges.  I doubted you on pro-life.  I doubted you had any idea of what to do with the government once you had it.  But you had something going for you.  I knew exactly what to expect from the Democrats.  You, at least, were a wild card.  I didn’t go to early voting because I wasn’t settled.  On the morning of election day, I stood in the booth still not sure what I would do.  But then I remembered that the best human being I have ever known was voting for you (I won’t name the person here).  I held my breath and pulled the lever for Donald Trump.

I’ll never forget election night.  I was stunned when you prevailed.  (I think you were, too.)  But the thing I felt most of all was relief that Secretary Clinton did not win.  I know that many of my neverTrumper friends felt the same way.  At the time, I think even Bill Kristol would have said so. 

According to polls, 81% of white evangelicals voted for you.  That has led to a lot of high and mighty judgment (sometimes from the other 19%) castigating us for the decision we made.  In terms of your policies, I think we did the right thing.  The economy is humming (and benefitting the least of these) thanks to your realistic view of the competitive international tax situation and your insistence on reducing red tape.  You have redressed trade imbalances, especially with China.  You’ve avoided getting us into another Middle Eastern morass, while simultaneously dealing favorably with Israel (quite a feat).  Most important, you have kept your promise on judges.  Both the sanctity of life and religious liberty are stronger than you found them. 

But there is another side to all of this.  And I think this is an area where we have served you poorly.  Some of us have cultivated your friendship without speaking faithfully to you about your words and behavior. (Some call these “court evangelicals,” I suppose.)  Others have attacked you with the most unattractive self-righteousness that would appall us if applied to almost anyone else.  We spend a lot of time talking about loving sinners and hating sin, but I have seen too many who feel free to hate your sin and to hate you AND to congratulate themselves about doing it. 

I want to do the thing that I think should be done, which is to appeal to you in a way that is friendly and direct.  Let’s talk honestly.  It has been important to some to characterize you as a Christian.  I think you’ve passively allowed that, more or less.  But it seems to me you aren’t really comfortable with that designation.  You haven’t experienced a conversion that brings with it a drive toward continuing repentance and personal holiness.  For me, the kingship of Jesus Christ is the most significant fact there is.  (Way bigger than the presidency of Donald Trump, which is YUGE, I know.)  For you, that’s an interesting (and probably weird) claim, I suspect.  What you are is an American (like many Americans) for whom Christianity is an accessory and not an engine.  If you want to correct me on that, you do it and I will take you at your word.  Most conservative churchgoers understand what I’m saying here just as I think you do.

But let me ask you for something.  I am part of the coalition that has voted for you and will likely do so again.  You believe in deals.  So maybe you can make a deal for us.  Please don’t shame us by attending events like the National Prayer Breakfast and turning a meeting based on faith into another avenue for political combat and vindication of your grievances.  I don’t think it is too much to ask you to navigate those waters with more care as part of earning our support.  Just attend and be respectful.  We all enter situations where we don’t necessarily speak the language or feel the feelings.  Those are good times for humility and care. 

And here’s another related thought.  When you went to the National Prayer Breakfast, you’d survived impeachment and given probably the best speech of your presidency for the State of the Union.  My hopes rose when you gave that speech without talking about impeachment.  I thought maybe you’d learned to rise above the fray and maybe even just to be thankful things turned out well for you.  Instead, you jumped right back into the mud the next morning.  People say that a person of a certain age can’t learn anything new, but I have to tell you, I keep expecting you to shock all of us just like you did on election night.  I think you can learn something new. Here’s a Bible verse that might appeal to you and help with that.  It’s Romans 12:20, which reads, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Maybe you should try that.

I might also add that you probably underestimate what you could do if you learn that you don’t have to go full New Yorker every time you fight a battle.  My conservative estimate is that greater personal grace and statesmanship would be worth at least five more points at the ballot box.  Anybody with your numbers should be sailing to re-election instead of anticipating a hard-fought battle.

                                                               With respect,

                                                               Hunter Baker

21 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Donald Trump after the National Prayer Breakfast (from a guy who voted for you . . .)

  1. I think you are far to generous with him. However, you have made good points and your tone is much more mature and civil than mine would have been.

    Thoughtful and well written.

    I’ll be voting down the ticket this year as I did in 2016. I can’t come within ten miles of him.

    Blessings to you.

    • Please put personal dislike aside and think hard of what it would really mean for this country if Democrats took power again. Trump might be a person you don’t like but he has put America first during his presidency and will continue to do so. I am afraid of what would happen if someone like Bernie Sanders took office. Please use your head and not your heart here.

  2. I am voting as always for Pro Life. I can’t say I like all we get with it but standing for life and for Israel are tantamount to honoring God. He uses the just and the unjust like as is pleasing to Him.

    • I vote for pro life politicians as well. Name one meaningful thing that Trump has done for the pro life movement. What has he done to advance the pro life cause? I’m not talking about appearing a rally or at a march. Or nominating a Justice who is already on the record that he wouldn’t repeal Roe v. Wade.

      Also, the geographical country of Israel is no longer “God’s chosen people”. It’s a country. “God’s chosen people” are all Christians. There’s no longer anything special about the physical country. Therefore, we have no spiritual or Christian obligation to protect it.

  3. So, you’re with the Senators who said, “He will learn from this and change.” Except that, as you yourself note, the next time he was in front of a camera w/o a prompter, he did precisely the opposite thing. Just when will you enablers learn to not let him play you?

  4. Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
    While I don’t view that choice as insane, I do see it as a common trap that most of us fall into during our lives. Why? We’re humans.
    Human beings are creatures of routine. Even the most spontaneous among us stick to a lot of routines and habits in life. For us, it is challenging to try different approaches to the problems in our life.
    Yet, that phrase still holds true. If you want different results than what you’re getting, you have to try different approaches.

    He is showed his true colors and continue to prove you and is right about his foul intent and objective to destroy our country each and every day he hold’s office.

    Proverbs 13:20
    Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
    2 Timothy 3:1-17
    But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. …

    • Why is everyone holding Trump to these “Godly” standards when practically none of the presidents in the past have been morally upright? They were the president and as long as they were a good president nobody made too big of a deal about other stuff. Trump has done some really good things for this country, the media is total BS and biased so you are not going to hear the good, only the bad. The current Democrats are childish and insane and will eventually, make this a socialist dungheap of a country. Trump is the only thing standing between us that outcome. People need to use their heads here and get over their personal dislike for the guy. Who do you want running this country? Who is the better choice? Bernie Sanders?

      • First, you mention “Godly” standards. There is nothing Godly about Trump, and maybe you are saying having multiple affairs and three divorces is Godly? Not sure of your definition of Godly? I just wish he also had a standard. Because you mention that also. Unless the standard you mention is traveling to a vacation spot every weekend costing the tax payers millions of dollars, even though he lied and said “I would be to busy to play golf” as a standard. Or just the fact that he said “Mexico was paying for the Wall” and now diverting billions of dollars from military funding for schools on military installations and weapon system to accomplish a campaign promise. Or the fact he said he was draining the swamp and embraces nepotism. Or the fact he was suppose to reduce the national debt and increased it by trillions of dollars. I didn’t have to get that from the media. I’m not a Democrat, but I do embrace a motto that says, “Anybody but Trump.”

  5. I vote for compassionate Democrats because I am pro-life. When you say you are pro-life and think that abortion is the only issue related to life, you are being lazy and irresponsible. When you forget that it is Jesus who is embodied by the immigrant child dying at the hands of ICE agents, you show that you have a lot to learn about “pro-life”. You see abortion and think you can decide about your vote based upon that one issue. You forget that children are hungry and dying because they live in poverty and DT is ready to reduce the food stamps that help to feed them Are you shallow? Do you close your eyes, cover your ears, and think that you please God because you say, “I vote pro-life.” Is that the fast you think God has asked for? Isaiah, Zechariah and I don’t think so.

    • You’re supporting the direct commission of a material evil. No Christian should be within miles of supporting the abortion franchise. I can understand coming to the conclusion, on balance, that the Democrats are where you have to go, but you should never for one second excuse what they are doing on abortion.

      • The countries that have the lowest abortion rates are not the ones who have outlawed abortion. They are the countries that have prioritized education, access to birth control, and access to healthcare in general. I can be against abortion and also recognize that the traumatic procedure is occasionally medically necessary.
        The Democrat platform currently better exemplifies my values as a Christian. Feed the poor, comfort the sick and weary, welcome the stranger, love one another. Trump, as far as I’ve seen, exemplifies the opposite.

  6. Hunter thanks for doing what so many have been reluctant to do in calling out Trumps behavior. As to your above comment concerning supporting the material evil of abortion by supporting Democrats. Republicans have indirectly supported an illusion they are going to somehow remove the material evil of abortion. They seem to be good at shooting themselves in the foot just about the time they make some headway. Even this week Trumps budget suggests increasing the waiting period before someones disability back pay begins. People who have lost jobs and their mates who have given up jobs to take care of them need that money. The very idea of such a suggestion given how good the economy is doing. Stuff like that mobilizes the opposition pretty quick and leads to the conclusion the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the sick get sicker and usually the boot for the GOP.

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