Evangelical editor who criticized Trump doesn’t think he’ll change minds

The editor in chief of a leading Christian magazine who wrote an op-ed that called for Donald Trump to be removed from office said Friday he doesn’t believe his comments will shake the President’s strong hold on evangelicals, which is a critical part of his political base.

Mark Galli of Christianity Today, which was founded by late evangelist Billy Graham, made headlines Thursday when he called Trump a “grossly immoral character” and said the need to remove him was not about “partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”

But in speaking to CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” Friday, Galli, who is leaving the publication in two weeks, said he is not optimistic that his editorial will sway Trump’s support among white evangelicals.

“Oh no,” he told Berman. “I don’t have any imaginations that my editorial is going to shift their views on this matter. The fact of the matter is that Christianity Today is not read by Christians on the far right, by evangelicals on the far right. So, they’re going to be as dismissive of the magazine as President Trump has shown to be.”

Earlier Friday, Trump dismissed Galli’s op-ed, calling the publication a “far left magazine.”

“When Christians of any stripe support a cause that strikes me as manifestly immoral, it does damage to the cause I’ve given my life to,” Galli said Friday. “So I think that’s one part of the equation all Christians need to think about more seriously and more deeply.”

The publication, an influential one among evangelicals, has criticized Trump before on immigration and other issues, but never before called for his removal. The op-ed shows potential reasoning for dissent among a key faction of the Republican coalition as Trump prepared for a potential Senate trial following his impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Jim Wallis, one of the nation’s most prominent liberal evangelical leaders, called the op-ed’s stance a “huge, watershed event,” adding that the magazine is arguably the leading evangelical magazine in the nation.

But Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, tweeted early Friday morning that his father would “not agree” with Christianity Today’s op-ed, adding that his father voted for Trump in 2016.