The Corner

A Strange and Revealing Christmas Controversy

For a few hours today, liberal Twitter actually thought that the Republican National Committee either called Donald Trump our “new King” or compared Trump to Jesus. In fact, liberal Twitter might still think the RNC called Trump a King. Why? Because of this Christmas statement:

Merry Christmas to all! Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends.

Even as we celebrate, we must also remember those among us who are less fortunate. Many on this day are without hope, and need the kindness and compassion of those around them. It is our prayer we will rise to meet the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals all around us, and what better day is there to love our fellow man than today?

As we open presents, enjoy Christmas dinner, and celebrate our own family traditions, we are mindful of our men and women in uniform. Many are stationed around the world today protecting our freedoms, and cannot be with their own spouses, children, parents, and siblings. We express the deepest gratitude for service that takes them away from celebrating with loved ones, and we ought to remember them in our thoughts and prayers not just on Christmas Day, but the whole year round.

Eagle-eyed mainstream media theologians spotted this sentence — “Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King” – and apparently immediately thought, “The Republicans actually think that ‘this Christmas’ they have a ‘new King’ named . . . Donald Trump!”

Yes, they thought that. The Raw Story collects a ridiculous number of tweets, including from smart people like Jonathan Chait (retweeting another smart person, Washington Post writer and Tufts University professor Dan Drezner):

I have two reactions to this strange little controversy. First, are these folks really so ignorant of Christian language and customs that they don’t understand that the “new King” is Christ? I’ve heard that phrase countless times. “King” is capitalized for crying out loud — a clear reference to the divine.

Two weeks ago, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet told NPR’s Terry Gross, “I think that the New York–based, and Washington-based too, probably, media powerhouses don’t quite get religion.” Yup, and this tiny tempest is Exhibit A.

Next, do liberal journalists and pundits really think so little of the RNC that they actually believe they’d call Trump a king? Do they really think they’d compare the president-elect to Jesus? Apparently so, and that’s a big problem. They’re not even granting the RNC the presumption of rationality. Indeed, they presume the opposite – that their political opponents are delusional.

Compared to the vast majority of the controversies of 2016, this little Twitter dustup is small change, but I’m afraid it’s indicative of the kind of leftist discourse we’ll see in the Trump years. Everything will be suspect. There will be no sense of proportion. The outrage meter will always be on – and dialed to the highest sensitivity. If the Left wants everyone but their base to tune them out, I can think of no better way.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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