Timothy Egan writes in the New York Times that Pope Francis, widely regarded as more liberal than his papal predecessors, is the “anti-Trump.” Hillary Clinton supporters scratch their heads at this assignation. The hugely influential pontiff, whose ability to sway votes is probably at least as great as that of Russian hackers*, never told Americans who his candidate of choice was during the US presidential campaign. Instead the pope instructed Catholic Americans simply to “study, pray, vote,” ambiguous advice if there ever was some. “During political campaigns, I never say a word. The people are sovereign,” said the pope at the time. “I would only say, study the proposals well, pray and choose with your conscience.”
Even when candidate Trump called Pope Francis’s remarks about his anti-immigration stance “deceitful,” the pope said nothing to encourage votes for Trump’s opponent. Turning the other cheek, a famous Christian dictate, is a tendency that, found in leaders like Francis, leaves constituents without guidance. Egan’s article focuses on Pope Francis’s humility, a characteristic the writer calls (hilariously) on Donald Trump to embrace and internalize. In the sense that Francis’s actions are not rash and he doesn’t practice a “conquer by dividing” strategy, the pope is unlike Trump — indeed a sort of anti-Trump. But a true anti-Trump would actively oppose his opposite — ask anybody familiar with the Marvel universe, or the Old Testament for that matter. The pope has a 70 percent approval rating in the US, where one in four voters are Catholic, Egan informs us. The most opportune time to be the “anti-Trump” was in early November.
*as proof, one fake news story allegedly circulated by Russian operatives declared that Pope Francis backed Trump.