Donald Trump has launched an angry broadside against a Christian magazine which endorsed his impeachment, while apparently misspelling its initials and proclaiming: “I won’t be reading ET again!”.
It was a serious blow for the president, who counts evangelical voters among his support base.
And amid an early-morning flurry of tweets just days after he became the third president in US history to be impeached, the Republican turned his sights on the magazine, falsely describing it as “far left”.
“It knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President,” he wrote.
“No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close. You’ll not get anything from those Dems on stage.”
He ended the diatribe by saying: “I won’t be reading ET again!”
The final flourish appeared to be a typographical error, rather than a reference to either the classic 1982 movie ET or the Entertainment Tonight television programme, which is often known by those initials.
The president’s tweetstorm referenced what he has frequently called a transcript of his 25 July phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, which has formed the basis of the impeachment case against him.
In fact, a document released by the White House was a memorandum of the conversation and not a direct transcript. Its apparent revelation of a quid pro quo deal proposed by Mr Trump is seen by his opponents as key evidence in the impeachment inquiry.
Mr Trump is alleged to have withheld vital military aid to Ukraine – which has been fighting a war against Vladimir Putin’s Russia since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 – while demanding that Mr Zelensky open a public corruption investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The president’s claim that CT is a “far-left” publication appeared unfounded. In an editorial earlier this year its editor in chief wrote: “Some of our readers voted for Trump, in enthusiastic support or in reluctant pragmatism. Others rejected him. Christianity Today should be a place where brothers and sisters in Christ reason with one another passionately and charitably. Let’s seek to understand as much as we seek to be understood.”
Mr Trump has courted evangelical voters with a staunchly anti-abortion stance. Senior members of his cabinet including Mike Pence, the vice president, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, are devout Christians.
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