Donald Trump predicts he will be arrested this week, which means his apprehension may occur during Lent, a period of reflection, sacrifice, and spiritual growth observed by Christians in preparation for Easter. Lent is also when, in the Christian tradition, Jesus Christ is crucified.
One New York lawyer, Joseph D. McBride, saw a comparison between the persecution of Christ and what he views as the persecution of Trump, tweeting that “as Christ was crucified, and then rose again on the 3rd day, so too will Donald Trump.”
McBride keyed in on the timing to bolster his comparison: “President Trump will be arrested during Lent,” he wrote, “a time of suffering and purification for the followers of Jesus Christ.”
President Trump will be arrested during Lent—a time of suffering and purification for the followers of Jesus Christ.— Joseph D. McBride, Esq. (@McBrideLawNYC) March 18, 2023
As Christ was crucified, and then rose again on the 3rd day, so too will @realDonaldTrump.
Violence is never the answer. Winning the election is. Vote for Trump!
McBride’s triggering tweet swiftly gained views, reaching over 3 million in short order. As tweets go, it was almost perfectly designed to be widely seen and shared, as it captivates two very different audiences.
The Trump-Jesus comparison appeals to many Trump followers, who agree with the idea that Trump is being treated unfairly despite due process.
On the other side, the tweet was also widely shared (and condemned) by those who strongly disagree. This group sees such a comparison as proof that the dubious persecution narrative around Donald Trump is out of control.
Some, like the commenter below, believe the comparison is not just wrong, but practically ill-advised: “Comparing Donald Trump to Jesus Christ is a mistake. It’s going to hurt him, it’s going to hurt you. Just stop. If you love Jesus Christ, and you believe He died for our sins as the last perfect sacrifice, stop this. I implore you.”[Get the shirts: FREEDOM BABY and SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE]
Comparing Donald Trump to Jesus Christ is a mistake. It’s going to hurt him, it’s going to hurt you. Just stop. If you love Jesus Christ, and you believe He died for our sins as the last perfect sacrifice, stop this. I implore you.— NotYourJewishMom (@CaffMomREDACTED) March 18, 2023
On the internet there is an unwritten but unavoidable rule: real bad guys get compared to Hitler. Conversely, real good guys get compared to Jesus. Trump, with a persona as divisive as McBride’s tweet, tends to inspire dubious (and often hysterical) comparisons to both historical figures.
[Note: McBride describes himself on Twitter as “fighting for the Constitutional Rights of American Patriots” and accepts donations on his website “to the fight for the freedom of January Sixers.”]
It isn’t just elite agnostic technocrats who think the Jesus-Trump comparison is invalid either. A theologian chimes in below, confessing confusion, asserting that Jesus’s mission was to “bring good news to the poor” and asking “can we walk through how you believe Trump is following Jesus in this way?”
As a theologian, I am really confused by your assertion here. Can we agree that Jesus’ mission was to bring “good news to the poor”? If yes, can we walk through how you believe Trump is following Jesus in this way? What fruit can we know him by?— Jim Keady (@JWKeady) March 19, 2023
McBride hasn’t yet responded to that comment, but he has been active in responding to other comments on his viral post. “Who among you here has broken bread with President Trump and can report that he is a non-believer?” he asks those who doubt Trump’s religious devotion.
(That group would include devout former VP Mike Pence, who joked recently that he understood why Trump didn’t know where some of the classified documents he took were, saying that the FBI found them tucked in a Bible.)
McBride himself seems surprised by the view count on his post, crediting his “audacity” for the viral quality of the tweet. He writes: “Millions of views because one guy had the audacity to compare the witch hunt for Trump to the plot to crucify Christ…All wrongful convictions & malicious prosecutions are comparable to the crucifixion, especially the mob driven political ones!”