I wrote this Friday morning, but it already feels like some antique commentary on Free Silver. Since then Donald Trump has won the South Carolina Republican primary, after a truly despicable play on anti-Muslim hysteria, recycling some century-old canard about Islamic soldiers being shot by bullets dipped in pig's blood. By comparison jousting with the pope seems quaint, the relic of an era when the most monstrous demagogues did not prance on the public stage, never mind gain mainstream support from the Party of Lincoln.
Score: Trump 1, Pope Francis 0.
In the latest jaw-dropping moment of Donald Trump's jaw-dropping march to the White House . . . whoops, make that his protracted flash across the American political heavens, the New York real estate billionaire tussled with the wildly popular leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics on Thursday and came out the clear winner.
Back before presidential politics became a stumble through a hall of funhouse mirrors, the idea of a candidate talking trash at the pope would be impossible. But, if nothing else, the 2016 elections will go down in history as an epic expansion of the realm of the possible.
What made this episode unique was that it did not stem from a preemptive Trump attack. From his tarring Mexican immigrants as rapists to whack-a-moling war hero John McCain, then POWs in general, then Fox host Megyn Kelly, then mocking a handicapped reporter and suggesting that all Muslims should be barred at the border because, well, they're Muslims, Trump likes to fire first.
Instead, this time it was the pope who, during his trip to Mexico and asked about Trump, unleashed this:
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”
To continue reading, click here.