On Thursday, President Donald Trump’s favorite TV show featured a Christian preacher who made a case on the air that Trump has a biblical justification for attacking North Korea.
During a Fox & Friends interview, Southern Baptist minister and outspoken Trump backer Rev. Robert Jeffress claimed that “the Bible, especially Romans 13, does give President Trump moral authority to use whatever force necessary, including assassination or even war, to topple an evil dictator like Kim Jong-un.”
“I believe the Bible is very clear about that,” he added.
As ThinkProgress detailed on Wednesday, Jeffress’ interpretation of the Bible is controversial and at odds with many progressive Christian leaders. But while it may be temping to dismiss him, there’s a good chance Trump was watching while Jeffress made his case.
Trump has retweeted Fox & Friends nine times already this week, which he’s spending at his private club in New Jersey. And even when he’s not just retweeting Fox & Friends, it’s clear the president is paying attention.
Shortly after 6 a.m. on Thursday, the show devoted a segment to discussing how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) failed to deliver on his campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Less than a hour later, Trump echoed that talking point on Twitter.
Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2017
While Trump watches on, Fox & Friends hosts tirelessly defend him. On Thursday, they downplayed the alarming rhetoric the president used Tuesday about how the U.S. military will respond with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Kim Jung-un issues further threats, characterizing loose talk about nuclear attacks as just something presidents do.
F&F: Trump's NK comments were actually normal, and the critics of them are undermining America. pic.twitter.com/gNMTpozzgZ
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) August 10, 2017
Live-tweeting cable news has downsides. In July, an inaccurate report featured by Fox & Friends quickly became part of a vicious attack President Trump made against the New York Times. (Fox News refused to apologize for the error.) And earlier this week, Trump — who has loudly and repeatedly decried leaks of classified information — retweeted a Fox News story involving classified national security information leaked to a reporter by anonymous U.S. officials.
Trump has allegedly been directly involved in Fox News’ dissemination of politically motivated disinformation. Last week, longtime Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler filed a defamation lawsuit against the network alleging that the White House urged the network to published a since-retracted report linking the murder of a former DNC staffer with WikiLeaks, because Trump administration officials thought it would sow doubt about the extent of Russian cyberattacks against Democratic targets.