Trump II Will Feature A Whole Lot Of Christian Nationalism

INSIDE: Alexei Navalny ... MTG ... Matt Gaetz
DES MOINES, IOWA - AUGUST 12: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the Steer N' Stein bar at the Iowa State Fair on August 12, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa. Repu... DES MOINES, IOWA - AUGUST 12: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the Steer N' Stein bar at the Iowa State Fair on August 12, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa. Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former President Donald Trump are visiting the fair, a tradition in one of the first states to hold caucuses in 2024. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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It Ain’t Gonna Be Pretty

We spend a lot of time here looking backwards toward legal accountability for what Donald Trump has already done: cheat in the presidential elections of 2016 and 2024, hoard classified documents, rape and defame E. Jean Carroll, engage in fraudulent business practices for years. But what is to come in a second Trump term remains more potentially threatening, dangerous, and long-lived than any and all Trump transgressions to date.

To its credit, some solid political reporting has been done on what to expect in a Trump II. I’ll credit some of our own coverage in that regard, too, including our January story on the plan to target the independence of independent agencies and our December story on how Trump is laying the groundwork to co-opt the military.

This morning Politico has a new piece out on the effort to infuse Trump II with the fervor of Christian nationalism. It serves as a good reminder that while Trump himself remains dangerous he also serves in an additional role as a conduit for all sorts of bad actors, conspiracists, grifters, ne’er-do-wells, hangers-on, con artists, extremists, and ideological wackadoodles.

Some of the names coming in to a second Trump administration under the Christian nationalism rubric are familiar: former Trump OMB director Russell Vought, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former Trump official William Wolfe.

As Politico notes:

Freedom of religion would remain a protected right, but Vought and his ideological brethren would not shy from using their administration positions to promote Christian doctrine and imbue public policy with it, according to both people familiar with the matter, granted anonymity to avoid retaliation. He makes clear reference to human rights being defined by God, not man.

The range of policy matters implicated by Christian nationalist precepts is as vast as the array of hot button social issues that the GOP draws from to drum up “culture wars” of one kind or another. But for Christian nationalists, it really is warfare.

For his part, Vought has complained about the term “Christian nationalist” being bandied about pejoratively:

“’Christian nationalism’ is actually a rather benign and useful description for those who believe in both preserving our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and making public policy decisions that are best for this country,” he wrote in Newsweek in 2021. “The term need not be subjected to such intense scorn due to misunderstanding or slander.”

The Politico piece is worth a read.


Brian Beutler: Trump’s Huge Fraud Verdict Is A Watershed Moment for Accountability—And New Corruption

Trump’s Cash Crunch

With several massive judgments against him, including Friday’s $355 million hammer in the NY civil fraud case, Donald Trump is facing the tricky choice of either paying judgments or posting appeal bonds.

Supreme Court Watch

Via Joyce Vance:

 In addition to hearing the cases already scheduled for argument, the Court will release orders on Tuesday and “may” announce opinions on Wednesday. The orders list on Tuesday could involve the Court’s decision on how the presidential immunity appeal will be handled, and, as a bonus, the opinions on Wednesday could include a decision in the 14th Amendment case. Note that the operative word for both is “could.” The Supreme Court does not signal in advance what orders or decisions it is going to hand down, only giving us a heads-up to be prepared for them in any of its pending cases.

The Death Of Alexei Navalny

  • WaPo: In video statement, Navalny’s mother pleads with Putin to release her son’s body
  • CNN: Trump avoids condemning Russia for Navalny’s death
  • Ishaan Tharoor: In Navalny’s death, Putin cements a new era of Russian dictatorship
  • NYT: Navalny’s Widow Pledges to Carry On His Work


TPM’s Hunter Walker: A Central Figure In The Abramoff Scandal Is Helping MTG Become A ‘Real Player’ On Capitol Hill

Drip, Drip, Drip …

The Daily Beast: Witness Told Feds She Was Paid for Sex Parties With Matt Gaetz

They’re Coming For IVF


The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday that frozen embryos are people and someone can be held liable for destroying them, a decision that reproductive rights advocates say could imperil in vitro fertilization (IVF) and affect the hundreds of thousands of patients who depend on treatments like it each year.

2024 Ephemera

  • MI-Pres: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is urging Democrats to register a protest vote against President Joe Biden over his Israel-Gaza policy in the Democratic primary.
  • Abortion rights advocates are struggling to fund their 2024 ballot efforts.
  • CO-04: Rep. Lauren Boebert tries to convince her new district that she’s not all drama.

The Biden Age Stories Are Getting Old

Josh Marshall: No. Ezra Klein is Completely Wrong. Here’s Why.

Biden Slows EVs Roll


In a concession to automakers and labor unions, the Biden administration intends to relax elements of one of its most ambitious strategies to combat climate change, limits on tailpipe emissions that are designed to get Americans to switch from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles, according to three people familiar with the plan.

Quote Of The Day

Some folks are burned out on outrage.

Rebecca Lee Funk, founder of Outrage, a progressive activism group


Our periodic survey of the TPM readership is underway. We’d love to hear from you!

Wait, This Is A Thing?

Princeton historian Kevin Kruse was riffing about Presidents Day and casually dropped that “in practice most Americans assume the holiday is one meant to honor all presidents.”

This is a thing? President Day has lost in the popular mind its connection to Washington and Lincoln, around whose birthdays the holiday was consolidated? For real?

Daddy Died A MAGA

Jess Piper:

Daddy died in August of 2017…it was a terrible and painful death and he was only 61 years old. His last words to me were absolutely unfathomable and embarrassing: He begged for forgiveness for his behavior and his Facebook posts, since 2015. The MAGA mentality he had displayed since Trump came down that escalator. The point of contention in our formerly close relationship—the reason we had barely spoken in two years.

Always Be Hawking

He will never fail to tell you exactly who he is …

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – FEBRUARY 17: Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump delivers remarks while introducing a new line of signature shoes at Sneaker Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center on February 17, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sneaker Con was founded in 2009 and is one of the oldest events celebrating sneakers, streetwear and urban culture. Trump addressed the event one day after a judge ordered the former president to pay $354 million in his New York civil fraud trial. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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