Thoughts on the Eve of the Trump Trial

Thoughts on the Eve of the Trump Trial April 15, 2024

The American flag with the outline of a cross behind the blue field
image via Pixabay

 

The first criminal trial of a former United States president, begins in the morning.

I’m writing this in the wee hours of Monday morning. By the time you read it, the trial will probably have begun. And of course, by the trial I mean  jury selection. The boring part. We won’t get to the exciting part for weeks.

Donald Trump, the champion of the pro-life movement and American Christianity, is accused of falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to a porn star, Stephanie Clifford (known as Stormy Daniels), in order to keep her story from coming out so that he’d win the 2016 election. Way back then, it was thought that American Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics wouldn’t vote for a man who’d been known to have cheated on the future First Lady with a porn star. I’ve always thought that was odd. After all, he cheated on his second wife with Melania, and on his first wife with his second. This is what he does. They knew that from the beginning. They still chose him as their champion. They could have gone with Jeb Bush or John Kasich. Remember them? But they came out in droves for the one who cheats on his wives.

Somehow, in the course of paying off Ms. Clifford, he seems to have committed thirty-four different felonies. But that’s for a jury to decide. Ms. Daniels is going to testify. So is his former attorney, who has already been in prison for this same incident. He faces four years in prison. Whatever happens, this trial is going to be a circus.

I remember how it felt in 2016, watching in horror as Christians I respected sold their souls to the Donald Trump campaign. I thought he had absolutely no chance to actually win.

I remember going for a walk on that horrible November evening, passing all the houses of respectable well-to-do Franciscan University professors, staring at their Trump signs, realizing that American Christianity wasn’t at all what I thought it was, and they’d won.

I remember fairly screaming that this man did not support anything like Christian values. I begged people to understand that he wasn’t really pro-life. I wasn’t ready for the blowback I got. People were furious with me. I got quite a bit of harassment online. We lost our parish. My daughter will never be chrismated in a Byzantine Catholic church. That’s far less than a lot of people who stood up to Trump suffered.

And then it went from bad to worse: four years of worse and worse behavior from Trump and his cronies. In the end, pro-life Christians of all denominations invaded the U. S. Capitol in an attempt at a coup and overthrow our democracy. I found out afterwards that one of my pro-life Catholic relatives was there. Five people were killed. Between 400 and 500 people have gone to prison for the coup attempt so far.

I warned people about Frank Pavone’s grisly forty-year-old baby corpse, and got slammed for it. I repeated what the diocese told me, that Pavone wasn’t even a priest in good standing, and got gaslit and accused of calumniating a priest. Even when I showed everyone that the celebret on his own website had been expired for years and years, they didn’t believe me. But I was proven right.

I was wrong that Trump’s antics would not get Roe versus Wade reversed, and I admit that. He managed to do it. But I did warn people that if that reversal happened, it wouldn’t lead to abortion going away. It would lead to chaos, women dying, and no decrease in the number of abortions over all. And I was right. Abortion rates are going up. They started to climb as soon as Trump got into office, and they haven’t stopped.

I tried to point out that the pro-life movement was destroying what little credibility they had, and was informed that I was actually a “pro-abort” who was trying to smear the movement. And now, people are flocking to the polls to vote pro-life candidates out of office and enshrine abortion rights in their state constitutions.

And this week, Trump and other pro-life politicians are disavowing the pro-life cause entirely. It’s sending “shockwaves” through what’s left of the movement.  They’re all shocked, just shocked, that they’ve been had. If only someone had warned them.

Meanwhile, Americans are leaving Christianity in general at a dizzying rate. I can’t even count how many friends of mine have given up.

And now Trump is going to his first of four trials.

I have no idea which way that will go. I wouldn’t hazard a guess. After all, I thought we’d have heard the last of him by the end of 2016.

But it’s certainly fitting that we get this particular one of Trump’s trials first. Let’s let the whole world know all the details about his tryst with the porn star who spanked him. The Christians who crowned him as their messiah deserve to hear every detail.

I suppose I should gloat, but I just feel terribly sad.

 

 

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

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