During his Coronavirus Taskforce Briefing, President Donald Trump was asked to explain his retweet of Paul Sperry, a Washington D.C.-based author who wondered aloud “Let’s see if authorities enforce the social-distancing orders for mosques during Ramadan (April 23-May 23) like they did churches during Easter.” Evidently, Sperry is curious whether devout Muslims who want to gather in mosques during Ramadan will face the same orders to keep their observations online during the season of social distancing.
Trump, the 45th consecutive U.S. President to claim to be a Christian, responded by saying he believes Christians are getting an unfair shake from politicians. “I am somebody that believes in faith,” he said. “And it matters not what your faith is, but our politicians seem to treat different faiths very differently. … I don’t know what happened with our country, but the Christian faith is treated much differently than it was. And I think it’s treated very unfairly.”
Trump stressed that he was not trying to disparage Muslims — just politicians he feels selectively discriminate against Christians. “I just spoke with leaders and people that love mosques; they love mosques,” he said, apparently referencing a recent phone call with a group of interfaith religious leaders. “But I would say that there could be a difference. And we’ll have to see what will happen because I’ve seen a great disparity in this country. I’ve seen a great disparity.”
Trump also referred to what he called “a very strong anti-Israel bent in Congress with Democrats” that he said “unthinkable seven or eight or ten years ago.”
“And now [Democrats are] into a whole different thing between Omar and AOC,” he said, referring to Representatives Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have become popular among the burgeoning movement of young leftists. “I mean, the things that they say about Israel are so bad,” Trump continued.
Trump said that politicians “go after Christian churches but they don’t tend to go after mosques. And I don’t want them to go after mosques, but I do want to see …what their bent is.” Trump said he did not believe Muslims would defy social distancing guidelines.
Trump is far from the minority on this subject, especially among the white evangelicals who make up his base of support. Eight-in-ten white evangelicals told the Public Religion Research Institute that discrimination against Christians is just as big of a problem in America as discrimination against racial and religious minorities.