It’s more or less an article of faith among Donald Trump’s diehard supporters that the massive protests can’t possibly be real. Supposedly, someone is paying them to get on the streets and oppose Trump’s drive to make America great again. The latest Trump diehard to take up this cry is one of Trump’s staunchest fundie supporters, Jim Bakker. He and his friends apparently think that the protests can’t possibly be legitimate because the protesters are taking their marching orders from radical jihadists, and are also being driven by the devil himself.
For most of last week, Bakker’s guests were former FBI agent and supposed counterterrorism consultant John Guandolo and End Times author Joel Richardson. However, Thursday’s show was bizarre, even by Bakker’s standards. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Roughly 18 minutes into the show, Bakker started railing about the massive protests on Income Tax Day, at which thousands of people demanded that Trump release his tax returns. To Bakker’s mind, they couldn’t possibly have been real.
“What’s going on in America where, you know, all these people gather all at the same time in the same place? How can they all gather together? Every city, they’re marching, they’re all doing this. Who’s setting this up? And yet, the reporters all believe it. They’re feeding us a lie–‘America’s unrestful. They’re waiting–they just can’t wait to get the president’s tax returns, and they’re revolting because of it!”
Guandolo, a former FBI agent, had a ready explanation. He told Bakker’s audience that when his consulting firm, Understanding the Threat, briefs law enforcement, he stresses that “the jihadi movement, the terrorist movement in the United States” is working hand-in-glove with “Soros-funded groups.” He saw a parallel with the Cold War era, claiming that anti-nuclear protests of that time were bankrolled by the Soviet Union.
If that bit of red meat wasn’t enough, Guandolo claimed that there was no way thousands of people could take the streets “with a complete logistical plan out of nowhere.” He wanted his audience to know that these protests are being bankrolled by “enemies of the United States.”
So that’s it, isn’t it? It’s not because Trump actually lost the popular vote by over three million votes. It’s not because social media makes it easy to organize. No, no–the protesters are being paid out of bank accounts maintained by ISIS, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. Got it.
Richardson threw in his own two cents. He claimed that there was a “spirit of rage” sweeping the nation. He claimed that Satan had hijacked the original premise behind Black Lives Matter, for instance. He saw parallels with Psalm 2, in which nations are supposedly plotting against God. To his mind, while the protesters are railing against Trump, they are actually plotting against God.
“On the outside, in the natural, it’s ‘We hate Donald Trump,’ ‘We’re furious about this, we’re furious about that.’ But the Scriptures say they gather and they plot ultimately against the Lord and against His anointed.”
He went on to say that the anger against Trump is a sign that God has his hand on the Donald. Like other fundies, he believes that “the Lord is using this administration” and is “doing something quite powerful in this country.” Seen in that light, it’s no wonder that “the rage of Satan” is hitting Trump full force. Uh huh. And the fact that Trump has an average approval rating of only 41 percent has nothing to do with it?
It’s no secret that Bakker has gone off the deep end. It’s no secret that he’s bowed before the Orange Calf. But even allowing for that, he really scraped the bottom of the barrel by bringing Guandolo and Richardson on his show. Guandolo has long claimed that he was pushed out of the FBI in 2008 after he discovered it had been taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood and wouldn’t shut up about it. In truth, he was caught sleeping with a key witness in the case against Congressman William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, and resigned rather than face certain termination. In other words–this man has no credibility to speak about anything.
Richardson, for his part, is a rabid Islamophobe who believes that the Antichrist will be Muslim. He even went as far as to say that anyone who doesn’t believe “Islam is evil” is not a true Christian.
We already knew that Bakker is even more unhinged than he was during his heyday in the 1980s. At this point, I find myself wishing that federal judge Robert “Maximum Bob” Potter had been able to hold his tongue when he sentenced Bakker for swindling his PTL followers in 1989. For those who don’t know, Potter told Bakker that his deceit resulted in religious people being stereotyped as “saps for money-grubbing preachers or priests.” An appeals court ruled that Potter had improperly injected his own religious beliefs as a factor in considering Bakker’s 45-year sentence, and threw it out. Bakker was later resentenced to eight years, and paroled after five.
It’s too bad. Speaking as a native Charlottean, Bakker deserved every day of that original sentence. He raised more than double the money he needed to build a luxury hotel at Heritage USA, but used the bulk of the money to fund ministry expenses and line his own pockets. But now he’s back on the air–and instead of stealing people’s money, he’s poisoning their minds with the notion that the most manifestly unfit president in memory is somehow a man of God.
(featured image courtesy Bakker’s Facebook)