Rick Perry: I told Trump that he was chosen by God -- just like Obama was

Perry’s getting a bad rap on these comments this morning from the media, much of which is omitting the “Obama” part of what he said in their coverage of it. He’s not claiming that Trump was chosen by God uniquely among presidents as the American messiah or whatever. Some hardcore MAGA types might believe that but it’s not his point. He’s saying, from what I gather in the clip, that as a Christian he believes that all American presidents — presumably all American political leaders — are part of the divine plan. Obama too. And Pelosi.

And AOC.

Which means … impeachment is ordained by providence? I don’t know.

Whether Trump took Perry’s point about being the chosen one the way Perry intended it is a different question. The president has used that phrase before in reference to himself. He refuses on principle to apologize for mistakes, he said during the 2015 campaign that he’s never been moved to ask God for forgiveness, and his trust in his own instincts is so supreme that it now extends even to overriding the military justice system in its handling of war crimes.

Not a man who needs to be further encouraged to believe that his decisions are infallible as a product of God’s will.

As a non-believer, I’ve never understood why believers think people’s political choices are somehow divinely ordained when they’d never say the same about other types of choices. Christians will tell you that human beings defy God’s will every day. That’s called “sin,” and there’s so much of it around that God felt nothing less than sacrificing his only son could redeem it. The reason Christianity exists is because people succumb to temptations and make bad choices and need Christ’s guidance to find their way back to grace. Why that same logic shouldn’t hold for national elections, I have no idea. I interacted with lots of political activists every day during Obama’s two terms and I assure you that the idea that this was all part of providence’s blueprint for America — a regrettable part, but still — seemed puh-retty far from what Republicans believed. What they believed, it appeared, was that the country had strayed from the path by electing O and didn’t have much time left to save its soul. “Flight 93 election,” yadda yadda. In fact, we spent a lot of time mocking Democrats for their own weird messianism about Obama, a.k.a. “The One.”

So maybe Perry’s assertion that the Obama presidency was also chosen by God isn’t much more than a pat bit of retroactive justification he’s citing now, when it no longer matters, for encouraging Trump to believe in his own divine sanction.

Also, this is a soundbite best delivered on Inauguration Day, not in the middle of an impeachment inquiry when there’s an erupting dispute between the White House and Pentagon in how severely accusations of farking war crimes should be handled. It’s fine to say this as an anodyne assurance that God wants what’s best for America. Saying it now, in context, makes it sound like a get-out-of-jail-free card for Trump. If he was chosen by God to lead, then who are we to hold his bad behavior against him?

Anyway, this isn’t even the most objectionable bit of pro-Trump theology circulating today. I’m guessing that if Warren wins next fall, it won’t be similarly “demonic” to undermine her presidency.