Policy criticism is fair; rampant pettiness is not
President Donald Trump is not the first politician to be the target of nitpicking by those who just can’t stand him, and he will not be the last. Still, the most recent episode — let us call it Biblegate — reaches new heights of desperation to find something, anything, to criticize about the president.
A few days ago, Trump visited an area of Alabama ravaged by tornadoes. He stopped at a church, where some of those present asked him to autograph their Bibles. He did so.
How dare he, some critics rushed to social media and journalists to complain. Why, the very idea of Trump signing Bibles for political gain, they groused.
Then, it was pointed out that many presidents have, upon being asked, placed their signatures inside Bibles treasured by the bearers. The pastor of the Alabama church where the deed was done said the president’s visit had done people there some good. And someone pointed out that Trump signed other things (including, of course, hats) while he was there.
Well, harrumphed one critic, it may be all right for presidents to sign Bibles when people ask them to do so, but Trump placed his signature on the cover of one. “It almost felt like a desecration of the holy book,” one pastor griped.
Give us a break. One wonders whether the same kind of flap would have arisen had the president been, say, Hillary Clinton.
Beyond any question, Trump did not plan the Bible-signing scene. He went to the church to raise people’s spirits, to show them their nation cares, to do what he could to help.
Just like any president would do.
Criticism of any politician based on her or his policies is, well, the American way of government. But slamming a president who, with all his other faults, was just trying to do something nice is absurd.