The chairman of the Federal Election Commission thinks the November election amounts to a “spiritual war.”
In an interview with conservative Catholic outlet Church Militant on Wednesday, FEC Chairman Trey Trainor also called the 2020 election a “battle between good and evil.”
“I see it that way, just because of what I see happening around the country,” he said, asked whether people in Trump’s circle saw the election as a “spiritual war.”
“As someone who’s worked all my life in the area of the First Amendment, and the right of people to protest and to be civil in their protests, I am appalled at what I see happening in Portland and other places around the country where peaceful protests have been turned into riots, to where you have cities that are completely overrun,” Trainor added. (Portland has not been overrun by riots.)
“It really is a battle between good and evil because I think you have those that believe in the Constitution and preservation of the republic versus those that are pushing just for flat-out anarchy.”
Religion News Service flagged the interview in a report Friday.
Trainor, a Trump nominee, was confirmed by the Senate as an FEC commissioner in May. He was the fourth of six members at the time — the commission still had two vacancies, and within a month it lost another member, meaning that for most of his tenure Trainor has presided over a commission without the quorum necessary to conduct routine business. As an election lawyer prior to his FEC confirmation, Trainor represented the 2016 Trump campaign.
In Religion News Service’s own interview Friday with Trainor, who’s a practicing Catholic, the FEC chairman misquoted John Adams as saying “the Constitution presupposes a Christian moral people, which means you have to have that underlying principle in order for the Constitution to function and work properly.”
Adams did not say that, but in 1796 he signed the Treaty of Tripoli, which specifically stated that “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”
“What we see going on around the country is complete anarchy in places where the rule of law has been completely abrogated,” Trainor added to RNS. “So it is a spiritual war in that it is striking at the underlying foundations of our constitutional republic. It’s getting rid of the Christian moral principles that are the basis of the foundation of the country.”
A former FEC chairman and current member of commission, Ellen Weintraub, told RNS she disagreed with Trainor. “Our elections are not spiritual wars,” she said.
“They are not wars at all,” Weintraub added. “Wars have enemies; elections have opponents. We’re all Americans and we’re all in this together.”