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Senator Raphael Warnock: ‘The Bible doesn’t need Trump’s endorsement’ | Donald Trump | The Guardian

Senator Raphael Warnock: ‘The Bible doesn’t need Trump’s endorsement’

"Ex-president’s decision to sell Bibles branded with his name is ‘risky business’, says Warnock, pastor of historic Atlanta church

Black man with glasses wears blue suit and purple tie
Raphael Warnock delivers a speech at his election night party in Atlanta, Georgia, on 6 December 2022.Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s decision to sell Bibles branded under his name is “risky business”, the Democratic US senator Raphael Warnock said on Sunday, as the former president stands accused of having few moral scruples in four separate criminal indictments pending against him.

“The Bible does not need Donald Trump’s endorsement,” Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist church, said to CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. Speaking on Easter, one of Christianity’s holiest celebrations, Warnock added: “It’s a risky bet because the folks who buy those Bibles might actually open them up, where it says things like thou shalt not lie, thou shalt not bear false witness, where it warns about wolves dressed up in sheep’s clothing.

“I think you ought to be careful. This is risky business for somebody like Donald Trump.”

Warnock’s comments to CNN came days after the Republican who is running against Joe Biden for a second presidency in November presented an offer for the public to buy Trump-endorsed Bibles for $59.99. “Let’s Make America Pray Again”, Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform, a clear reference to the “Make America Great Again” slogan that he rode to the White House in 2016.

But indeed more than 80 criminal charges filed against Trump over the previous 12 months – including in Warnock’s home state of Georgia – charge Trump with behaving in ways that many true Bible devotees would frown upon.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he tried to unduly overturn the outcome of the 2020 election that he lost to his Democratic rival Biden, improperly retained classified government materials after his presidency, and illicitly covered up hush-money payments to an adult film actor who has claimed to have engaged in extramarital sex with him.

He is also facing multimillion-dollar civil penalties for business practices deemed fraudulent and an allegation that he raped a woman – a claim that a judge has determined to be substantially true.

Warnock on Sunday said he wasn’t surprised Trump had turned to selling Bibles to help raise funds for his soaring legal bills as well as his presidential campaign. The senator alluded to Trump’s history of hawking – among other things – Trump-branded steaks, non-accredited business school degrees and, more recently, $399 gold sneakers.

“Now he’s trying to sell the scriptures,” said Warnock, who was first elected to the US Senate in 2020. “At the end of the day, I think he’s trying to sell the American people a bill of goods.”

Warnock went out of his way to mention that Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016, but recognized that his tact allowed him to triumph in the electoral college. But Warnock remarked: “It did not work in 2020,” when Trump lost both the popular and electoral college votes.

“And,” the senator said,” I don’t think it’s going to work in 2024.”

During his interview on CNN, Warnock also addressed criticism from Trump and his Republican allies that Biden recognized Transgender Day of Visibility – which falls annually on 31 March – as scheduled on Sunday, even though this year it coincided with Easter.

The Republican US House speaker, Mike Johnson, notably asserted that Biden had “betrayed the central tenet of Easter”, something that he called “outrageous and abhorrent”.

Warnock, who is part of a succession of Ebenezer Baptist church that includes the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, said the fabricated controversy was another instance of people “who do not know how to lead us trying to divide us”.

“Apparently, the speaker finds trans people abhorrent, and I think he ought to think about that,” Warnock said. “The fact of the matter is … March 31 has been a day to lift up transgender people who endure violence and bigotry.

“But this is just one more instance of folks … who do not know how to lead us trying to divide us. And this is the opposite of the Christian faith. Jesus centered the marginalized. He centered the poor. And in a moment like this, we need voices, particularly voices of faith, who would use our faith not as a weapon to beat other people down, but as a bridge to bring all of us together.”

Senator Raphael Warnock: ‘The Bible doesn’t need Trump’s endorsement’ | Donald Trump | The Guardian

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