Personally, I’ve heard this sort of rap so many times from Christian-right leaders and flacks that at first I didn’t think it was newsworthy. But I guess coming from a Cabinet member, the former governor of our second-largest state, and a onetime viable presidential candidate makes it different:
Perry also told Fox’s Ed Henry that this sort of insight was sorta kinda obvious to Christian folk, though he felt the need to explain it to its beneficiary (per The Hill):
“I actually gave the president a little one-pager on those Old Testament kings about a month ago, and I shared it with him,” he continued. “I said, ‘Mr. President, I know there are people that say you said you were the chosen one, and I said, ‘You were.’”
“I said, ‘If you’re a believing Christian, you understand God’s plan for the people who rule and judge over us on this planet in our government,’” he added.
Even if, God forbid, I agreed with the idea that this president is literally on a mission from God, I wouldn’t “share it” with Donald J. Trump, who hardly needs divine sanction to think even more highly (if that’s possible) of his rare genius and world-historical importance. It’s also not helpful that this man, who is invincibly ignorant about spiritual matters, is being told that the tens of millions of devout churchgoing folk who aren’t fond of him must not be “believing Christians.”
For those who don’t know the code, this “God uses imperfect people” rationalization for conservative Evangelical support of Trump is one of several stratagems used to ease tender consciences in that segment of the population. Another, articulated by Christian-right warhorse James Dobson, is that Trump is a “baby Christian” who hasn’t quite learned the spiritual ropes just yet. Still another is that Trump is like the virtuous heathen Cyrus the Great, led by God to help His People without subscribing to the faith.
The common thread here is obviously to discharge conservative Evangelicals from any obligation to hold Trump to any moral standard whatsoever, which is handy when dealing with a foulmouthed, hateful narcissist whose “attitude toward women is that of a Bronze Age warlord,” as Southern Baptist dissenter Russell Moore put it. Treating Trump as the Scourge of God is also a good way to recast this congenital bully as a sort of victim of those who also try to sabotage God’s will via devilish tactics like impeachment.
Conservative Christian agitator Erick Erickson offered this defense of Perry’s theology:
Nice try, Erick, but according to this way of looking at the divine will in history, everything is ordained, including impeachment. Yes, there’s a famous Pauline instruction to Christians to “submit to the authority” of secular rulers who derive their authority from God, but there’s nothing in the constitutional tool of impeachment or the ability of people to deny a president reelection that represents some sort of disobedience to the Almighty.
Perry probably needs to keep this sort of divine-sanction-for-his-politics talk in the private circles of those who already agree with him, instead of on cable television. And he should definitely stop telling the president that God is his co-pilot in his regular bombing raids on the rule of law and his many perceived enemies.