The Corner

Franklin Graham on Trump: Nobody’s Perfect

James Ohmann of the Washington Post reports that Franklin Graham ”defended Trump’s character” yesterday: “Nobody is perfect, he said: Abraham lied, Moses disobeyed God + David committed adultery/murder.” I seem to recall repentance being offered in those cases; Trump has a different take on forgiveness. The nobody’s-perfect line is directed at a strawman: Nobody is saying that people have to be perfect to be elected. The people with whom Graham disagrees are saying (a) that Trump has a bad character and (b) that a seriously defective character is a mark against a candidate, a weighty reason to vote against him.

Graham could concede both of these points while continuing to argue for Trump’s election. He could say that Trump’s bad character is a reason to vote against him, but that this reason is defeated by Hillary Clinton’s flaws–including her own bad character. That would be a reasonable lesser-evil argument.

But instead of conceding or disputing (a), Graham pretends that every character flaw short of perfection is equivalent. And that pretense is in the service of implicitly denying (b). His argument is that nobody’s perfect, so character in political leaders doesn’t matter at all.

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Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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