The Atlantic: In private, Trump says all evangelical preachers are 'hustlers'

It doesn’t take preternatural insight to see Donald Trump isn’t a religious guy. “Two Corinthians” was a big tip-off, as is the fact that he’s the apotheosis of the Seven Deadly Sins — greed, sloth, envy, pride, daughter lust, fried-chicken-skin hoovering, and looking like an irregular, overfertilized squash. (I think that’s the list. I haven’t been to church in a while.)

But sometimes we get a closer look at his depravity and cynicism, and today is one of those times.

The Atlantic, which previously detailed Trump’s phony reverence for the military, is now revealing more of his bottomless insincerity.

According to Atlantic staff writer McKay Coppins, in private, Trump has called evangelical preachers “hustlers” and sees his “relationship” with them as 100 percent transactional:

One day in 2015, Donald Trump beckoned Michael Cohen, his longtime confidant and personal attorney, into his office. Trump was brandishing a printout of an article about an Atlanta-based megachurch pastor trying to raise $60 million from his flock to buy a private jet. Trump knew the preacher personally—Creflo Dollar had been among a group of evangelical figures who visited him in 2011 while he was first exploring a presidential bid. During the meeting, Trump had reverently bowed his head in prayer while the pastors laid hands on him. Now he was gleefully reciting the impious details of Dollar’s quest for a Gulfstream G650.

Trump seemed delighted by the “scam,” Cohen recalled to me, and eager to highlight that the pastor was “full of shit.”

“They’re all hustlers,” Trump said.

Yes, yes, they are, Donald. And you should know.

And yet millions of fools think this guy deeply respects them and is on their side.

But in private, many of Trump’s comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base.

Oh, what fools these mortals be …

The Faustian nature of the religious right’s bargain with Trump has not always been quite so apparent to rank-and-file believers. According to the Pew Research Center, white evangelicals are more than twice as likely as the average American to say that the president is a religious man. Some conservative pastors have described him as a “baby Christian,” and insist that he’s accepted Jesus Christ as his savior.

To those who have known and worked with Trump closely, the notion that he might have a secret spiritual side is laughable. “I always assumed he was an atheist,” Barbara Res, a former executive at the Trump Organization, told me.

I doubt this story will be — or could be — as seismic as The New York Times’ tectonic tax tale. But it’s of the same ilk: Everything about this bloaty, cotton-candy-festooned manatee rind is phony. To some of us it’s always been obvious. 

We members of the sane community will just have to outvote Trump’s foolish marks.

Make it so.

“This guy is a natural. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.” — Bette Midler on Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, via Twitter. Find out what made dear Bette break up. Dear Fcking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump and its boffo sequels Dear Prsident A**clown: 101 More Rude Letters to Donald Trump and Dear F*cking Moron: 101 More Letters to Donald Trump by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing are now available for a song! Click those links, yo!