News & Politics

David Brooks Wields the Bible Against Trump

I don’t always agree with the New York Times‘ resident “conservative,” David Brooks, but I can’t argue when he quotes the Bible to good effect. In his most recent column, “No, Not Trump, Not Ever,” Brooks eviscerates Donald Trump’s demagogic tendencies, using the words of King David.

Brooks starts by calling Trump “epically unprepared to be president,” since The Donald “has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn.” Worse, “his vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress” in that “he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out.”

Here are the most salient bits:

History is a long record of men like [Trump] temporarily rising, stretching back to biblical times. Psalm 73 describes them: “Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. … They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.”

And yet their success is fragile: “Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly they are destroyed.”

The psalmist reminds us that the proper thing to do in the face of demagogy is to go the other way — to make an extra effort to put on decency, graciousness, patience and humility, to seek a purity of heart that is stable and everlasting.

Brooks unleashes many zingers against Trump in this piece, calling him “a childish man running for a job that requires maturity” and “the most dishonest person to run for high office in our lifetimes.” His article has gone viral on Twitter, with “David Brooks” and “Not Ever” trending — the latter trending for at least 3 hours.

“As the founders would have understood, he is a threat to the long and glorious experiment of American self government,” the New York Times columnist adds. Brooks declares that Trump “is precisely the kind of scapegoating, promise-making, fear-driving and deceiving demagogue they feared.”

Throughout, Brooks makes it clear that he does not disrespect The Donald’s supporters. He acknowledges their pain, and says that they have legitimate struggles and concerns. Nevertheless, the dishonest Trump is not to be trusted or respected. “No, not Trump, not ever.”