Mueller Investigation a Real Witch Hunt?

Donald Trump has used the phrase “witch hunt” so often in recent months that the term has lost its potency. Trump casually tosses the term around via Twitter with frequency. His references to Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia as a witch hunt appear to have accomplished Trump’s apparent goal of diminishing the legitimacy of the investigation – at least to his supporters.

Of Trump’s supporters, 51 percent disapprove of the Mueller investigation, and just 43 percent support it. Overall, 69 percent of Americans support the Mueller investigation.

The modern definition of a witch hunt is “an attempt to find and punish a particular group of people who are being blamed for something, often simply because of their opinions and not because they have actually done anything wrong,” according to the Collins Dictionary.

The origins of the term, of course, harken back to the days of the Salem witch trials. Today, people are fond of applying the term “witch hunt” hyperbolically when they feel – or want to appear – wrongly targeted or scrutinized, even if the application of the term is ridiculous and has no real parallel.

In the 1692 Salem Village witch hunt, those who were accused of witchcraft were held without a fair investigation. Nineteen accused people were hanged, and one was crushed to death. Their “guilt” was based on hearsay and mass hysteria, and little or no real evidence. Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt,” on the other hand, has been a year-long, careful endeavor, aimed at finding facts and amassing solid evidence.

“…Trump comparing the investigation into his campaign to a crisis that left 20 people dead in the 17th century is clearly ridiculous — there is much more evidence in the criminal indictments, the court-sanctioned wiretaps, and the consensus of Republican and Democratic investigators for Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election than there is for witchcraft — and rather unsavory,” write Dylan Scott and Tara Isabella Burton, of Vox.

In 17th-century Salem Village, the (mostly) women who were charged did not have the option to loudly undercut their accusers. They had no support; those who might have supported them lived in fear of being accused themselves. Regarding Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt,” on the other hand, Trump feels free to speak and tweet his opinion.

“You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!” Trump tweeted on June 15, 2017.

“It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!” tweeted Trump on May 1, 2018.

“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” he tweeted on May 18, 2018.

“We’ve turned the expression on its head. Traditionally a witchcraft charge amounted to powerful men charging powerless women with a phony crime. Now it is powerful men screeching that they are being charged with phony crimes,” says Stacey Schiff, author of The Witches, a book about the Salem witch trials.

Hyperbole, though, is Donald Trump’s style. Misappropriation of terms is a Trump hallmark, as is good old-fashioned gaslighting. But to Trump’s supporters, the more often he tosses out the phrase “witch hunt” in a tweet, the more they see the idea as truth.

Donald Trump’s ‘Witch Hunt’ | HuffPost [2018-04-11]

Trump slams Mueller probe calling it a ‘witch hunt’ | Fox Business [2018-03-19]

Not All Evangelicals Want to Be Associated with Trumpism

Although Donald Trump’s base consists largely of white evangelicals, not all evangelicals see Trump as the Anointed One. To those who do, however, speaking out against Trump, his behavior, or his policies, is akin to blasphemy. Indeed, many evangelicals appear to have embraced the dogma of “Trumpism” as part of their Christian theology.

Last week, however, about 50 evangelicals, concerned about the negative perception of American evangelicals, met at Wheaton College, a conservative Christian school in Illinois, to discuss the future of the evangelical movement in the era of Donald Trump as president. Several who attended the invitation-only gathering left after the first day, offended by the “fault-finding” toward Donald Trump and his supporters, and characterizing the event as a “Trump bashing.”

Many are concerned that, to the rest of the world, including Americans who don’t support Trump, “evangelical” is synonymous with “Trump supporter.” And they’re concerned that “Trump supporter,” in turn, is associated with white racism, divisiveness, and nationalism.

“When you Google evangelicals, you get Trump,” said Doug Birdsall, honorary chair of the international evangelical movement Lausanne, and organizer of the Wheaton event. “When people say what does it mean to be an evangelical, people don’t say evangelism or the gospel. There’s a grotesque caricature of what it means to be an evangelical.”

“Trumpist” evangelicals stress that whomever God puts into office is there for His purpose (except, apparently, Barack Obama). Indeed, it’s easy to see God’s hand in the matter when the one who wins the election appears to further your agenda. The evangelicals are pleased with Trump’s judicial appointments, and they’re over the moon with Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (putting things in place for some elements of Biblical prophecy to come true, they believe).

Yet, despite Trump’s “pro-Christian” moves (does anyone really believe Donald Trump makes any decision on the basis of its “Christ-centeredness”?) a growing number of evangelicals feel that association with Trump has tainted the movement.

It’s difficult to understand how a group of people who claim to follow the teachings of a man (Christ) who is believed to symbolize goodness, mercy, love, and empathy, can reconcile their political choice of a modern-day leader (Trump) who is the antithesis of those qualities. On the other hand, it’s refreshing to know that some members of that same group find the association with Trump to be repugnant.

“No matter what happens to American evangelicalism, it is here to stay, says Darrell Block, of Dallas Theological Seminary, and a co-organizer of the gathering in Wheaton. Perhaps, but will we ever be able to undo the negative association of evangelicalism with Donald Trump? It may be that the only hope for those evangelicals who don’t want to associate themselves with Trumpism is to change the name of their movement.

Faith leaders reportedly hold anti-Trump meeting  |  Fox News [2018-04-19]

Leaders Criticize Trump right or wrong???   |  [2018-04-19] Truth Time Radio