President Donald J. Trump evoked an “America First” policy while campaigning during his first run for the presidency in 2016.
The plan refers to an ideology emphasizing American nationalism, unilateralism, protectionism and isolationism.
“America First” is rooted in the historic resistance to America intervention within foreign affairs.
The phrase became popular when the America First Committee, which combined anti-Semitism with pro-fascist rhetoric, advocated for nonintervention into World War II.
Trump sold voters with the “America First” slogan that every decision he would make would be for America’s best interests.
He even evoked similar rhetoric from the America First Committee, fixing blame for U.S. problems on immigrants and religious minorities.
The president’s persistence that he would place American interests before all else has failed the test of time.
The president’s rhetoric and behavior have revealed another reality. America and her people were never at the forefront of the president’s priorities.
His number-one priority has always been his self-interest. From generating revenue for his hotels to jeopardizing national security for his re-election, the president has tarnished the American standard.
Even more so, with the support of the Evangelical Right, one must look way down the road to see Jesus in any conversations, actions and policies of this president.
Sadly, it very well may be impossible to see Jesus anywhere in his actions and policies.
While the U.S. Constitution correctly prohibits any religious test to hold office, if someone claims to be a person of faith, then it would be rational and reasonable to ascertain evidence to that claim.
Instead, the president exudes only hubris.
The Book of Proverbs reminds us that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
America has often thought of herself as indestructible, the exact mindset of which Proverbs warns.
The United States is not invincible, as at times, our greatest enemy looks back at us in the mirror.
If we allow our leaders to replace sovereign duty with personal advancement, we jeopardize genuine patriotism with the whims of autocratic self-preservation cloaked in nationalistic fervor.
Jesus also warned of such pride and haughtiness: “Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (Matthew 19:30).
The humble carpenter from Nazareth built his ministry upon the notion that God loved the poor, oppressed and marginalized.
If divine judgment was warranted for any person or group of people, it was issued toward the actions and policies of the powerful and wealthy.
As an impeachment inquiry opens on Capitol Hill investigating the president, Americans need not rush to judgment. We need to be praying for our leaders and president.
Yet, we also need to keep in mind factual reality. The president has often cited “America First,” but his actions reveal what I believe are his true intentions: “Trump First.”
And with Trump being the darling of the Evangelical Right, when it comes to integrity and compassion, the ideals of Jesus are solidly absent.
Trump has placed himself above everyone else, even to the point of enacting policies that will harm those Jesus identified with (see Matthew 25) and benefit those Jesus critiqued (see Luke 6).
While all presidents – including Trump – should never be judged by their religious affiliations, when they proclaim, court and run for office using a particular theological viewpoint, then some sort of evidence should point to a commitment to that faith.
In the case of Trump, I struggle to find any evidence that Jesus and his teachings influence his life and policies.
If we were to write what seems to be the true political philosophy of President Donald J. Trump, it would read as follows: “Trump First, America Second, and Jesus as a Prop.”