Are Christians hypocrites for supporting Donald Trump? The easy and simplistic answer is yes. The correct answer is no, but the answer to that question requires some nuance, and to recognize that some Christians who support Trump are hypocrites. It also requires us to split that answer into three separate time frames.
2015 – 2016
I certainly was very frustrated with Christians who supported Trump in 2015 and 2016 in the Republican primary race. We had a large number of qualified candidates, and yet many Christians supported a thrice-married adulterer and philanderer with questionable business ethics. I still maintain that a Christian should not have supported nominating Trump over the others.
2016 general election
With that said, once Trump became the Republican nominee the equation changed. At that point, it became a binary choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton. Yes there were other candidates, but either Trump or Clinton was going to be the President of these United States. (I voted for Darrell Castle, by the way.)
To this day, despite the fact that this has been explained literally hundreds of millions of times, many Democrats still do not understand the deep and intense antipathy that conservative Christians had for Hillary Clinton. In addition to a long history of personal corruption, we knew she was going to attack all of our beliefs: Religious freedom, sexual morality and abortion. Conservative Christians tend to be conservative on other issues too, and we knew she would push gun control, higher taxes and a plethora of Leftist policies. She embraced and campaigned on toxic identity politics.
Faced with someone (Clinton) they knew was an enemy and someone else (Trump) who at least had been saying the right things for the past year, conservative Christians chose Trump. While backing Trump was a risk, tens of millions of conservative Christians found that to be a better option than someone who would be aggressively fighting against us from day one.
2017 and beyond
The President has only deepened his support among conservative Christians since he was elected, and that is based on policy. The Trump Administration has rolled back Barack Obama’s executive action supporting “transgender” bathrooms, opposing religious liberty, and supporting abortion rights. Trump has also pushed conservative policy in rolling back Obama-era regulations that have harmed business, signed significant tax relief and has refused to go along with radical anti-gun policies even in the wake of school shootings. The gamble conservative Christians took in 2016 has paid off (at least for now) and Trump’s support of our policy agenda has deepened his support among conservative Christians.
The natural criticism of this is that Trump does not actually care about these issues. Here is my answer to that criticism: That does not matter. Whether Trump actually believes in the conservative policies his administration has pushed matters far less than the fact that the polices have been put in place. At the end of the day, politics is about getting results on policy.
Now, I still despise and abominate the hypocrisy and idolatry of fake “christians” who excuse morally deviant behavior by Trump because he is a political ally. That is utterly repulsive, and must never be excused. No Christian should betray his Lord and Savior with this evil idolatry. We can support Trump politically and support his re-election without defecating all over the Bible and tossing it in the trash. We can support Trump’s policies and defend his re-election based on those policies while also speaking against his personal morality and sinful behavior. We can and should call on him to repent of his sin and believe in the only true God.
What about trying to get someone else to be the Republican nominee? That would be a very bad idea. Also, I do not judge the few remaining #NeverTrump conservatives who still in good conscience cannot vote for Trump in 2020. Everyone makes their own choices, and if those choices are based on sincere moral convictions I do not condemn them. Other Christians should follow my example and embrace Christian liberty. You will not find a single word in Scripture that commands anyone to vote for Donald Trump in 2020.
It has often been said that “politics is the art of compromise.” This saying is often abused to justify abandonment of principle, but there is a basic truth there. Every single time we vote for someone we are compromising, because no candidate aligns 100% perfectly with what we want in terms of character, rhetoric and policy. This is just as true for conservative Christians as for everyone else. Therefore, we have to pick the best (or sometimes the least bad) of all available options. Donald Trump has demonstrated himself to be the best option through at least November 2020, and it is my opinion that voting for Trump is the correct option.