You Don’t Have to Be Evangelical to Love Trump: You Just Have to Believe the Unbelievable


New Yorkers of a certain age will remember this famous advertising campaign that playfully used models of various ethnicities to help sell Levy’s “real Jewish Rye” bread to non-Jews. The point was that there were plenty of reasons for consumers of every kind to like a particular product that was once considered to have only “niche” appeal.

Today, of course, we have a politician whom many also once considered to fill a tiny, odd “niche.” Well, we know better now. So despite Donald Trump’s utter lack of religious belief, not to mention religious scruples, we see a devoted following among Evangelical Christians. Many have convinced themselves that, contrary to all evidence, he is one of them. But that is far from the only audience who has swallowed unbelievable assertions on the way to becoming Trump fans. Here, for your convenience, we have summarized some of the most popular.

(And our apologies to Levy’s bakery. We still love that rye. CLICK HERE to see a few of the original ads.)


While you may believe your Christianity is under attack, perhaps from Jews or Muslims, or maybe even those Christians who are too “liberal” for your taste, you don’t really have to have any faith at all. Unless maybe it’s faith in the superiority of white people. Or of life in the suburbs, compared to those dangerous cities, which Trump and the Republicans warn us are infested with Democrats, liberals, dark-skinned people and atheists. Here are a few more unbelievable beliefs that may help you cling to Trump.

You just have to believe there were ‘very fine people on both sides’ in Charlottesville.

The 'very fine people' Trump mentioned who descended on Charlottesville in 2018 were explicitly antisemitic.
The ‘very fine people’ Trump mentioned, who descended on Charlottesville in 2018, were explicitly antisemitic as this promotion from the neo-Nazi “Daily Stormer” makes clear.

Do neofascism and anti-Semitism make you uneasy? No worries! Instead of hating Jews, you may find that hating science and expertise of any kind is easier. Let’s move on to some popular unbelievable beliefs about the COVID-19 pandemic. There are so many!

You just have to believe the coronavirus is a Democratic hoax.

Feb. 28, 2020, At a campaign rally in South Carolina, referring to Democrats, Trump said: “This is their  new hoax.”

You just have to believe the virus took the whole world by surprise.

“Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion.”

“I just think this is something  . . . that you can never really think is going to happen.”

Not only was the Trump administration warned about the potential of a pandemic and its dangers to Americans, it was given a plan on how to deal with it, which it promptly shelved.

During the Obama administration, the National Security Council drew up a 69-page “playbook on fighting pandemics,” Politico has reported. The document, crafted in the wake of the 2016 Ebola outbreak, contained advice on tracking the spread of a new virus, how to ensure testing was conducted effectively, and about the need to stockpile emergency resources.

The incoming Trump administration was briefed on the playbook but it was “thrown onto a shelf,” according to an anonymous official quoted by Politico.

In October 2019, an internal federal government report warned how under-prepared and underfunded the US would be if it tried to tackle a virus for which there was no cure.

Find that evidence inconvenient? No problem!

You just have to believe Trump poured money into the CDC to combat the virus.

Mar 22, 2020, Trump at a press briefing:  “We actually gave CDC more money, not less money. They said we defunded. It turned out it was more money. Every one of those things that were said were one hundred percent wrong, and this sounds like another one of them.”

In fact, the White House cut the staff tasked with identifying global health problems in China, and tried to slash CDC funding.

The administration disbanded the National Security Council’s directorate charged with global health. It has sought to go further still, requesting budget cuts from the CDC of up to twenty percent for each of the past three years, only to be rebuffed by Congress. Trump’s effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act would also have reduced the CDC’s funding by around eight percent a year.

The administration has also proposed a twenty percent cut to the CDC’s emerging and zoonotic diseases program, which investigates and prevents new diseases. It has also attempted to reduce funding to help countries in Africa still suffering from the Ebola epidemic, has presided over the loss of sixty-one staff members from the CDC’s disease prevention program and proposed deep cuts to the CDC’s environmental health work.

Christopher Sellers, an expert in the environment and health at Stony Brook University and a lead author of the Politico report, said the Trump administration’s actions slowed down the response to the virus. He said these actions also probably affected the preparedness of hospitals and various government agencies for the crisis. “The administration has repeatedly and systematically corroded critical parts of the CDC,” Sellers said. “This was just begging for an epidemic to hit us. It was a perfect storm of lack of preparation.”

Sellers added: “It’s kind of incredible they are now trying to rewrite history to say we have plenty of resources when they’ve systematically targeted them. They should be held responsible by the American people as it is outrageous.”

You just have to believe the virus is no worse than the flu.

You just have to believe a COVID-19 vaccine is just around the corner.

You just have to believe that injecting Clorox and ultraviolet light into sick people will make the virus disappear.

All right. Millions infected and hundreds of thousands dead is so depressing. Let’s talk about another hoax, stirred up by those liberals and their “scientists.” You don’t have to be religious to trust Donald Trump about the rapidly changing climate or its impact on humanity.

You just have to believe that global warming is a hoax.

Remember these comforting reassurances from Donald Trump? Even before he became president?

“Ice storm rolls from Texas to TennesseeI’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!” Tweet, 10:13 AM, Dec 6, 2013

“This winter is brutal.” Climate change is a “hoax” perpetrated by “scientists [who] are having a lot of fun.” January 6, 2014, Fox News “Fox & Friends”

“This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice.” Tweet, 7:39 PM, Jan 1, 2014

“The weather has been so cold for so long that the global warming HOAXSTERS were forced to change the name to climate change to keep $ flow!” Tweet, 1:36 AM, Jan 29, 2014

“Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!” Tweet, 1:27 AM, Jan 29, 2014

“I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming, and it’s going to start to cool at some point.” Hugh Hewitt radio show, September 21, 2015

But even if you don’t think global warming is a hoax, don’t worry! Donald Trump doesn’t believe it’s a hoax either. Global warming is threatening some of his properties, and he wants helpgovernment helpto defend that valuable real estate against rising seas.

Here’s an excerpt from his May 2016 application to build a sea wall to protect one of his resorts from global warming. He asked officials in County Clare, Ireland, to approve construction of a sea wall “to guard against the dangers of sea level rise and more frequent storm events.”

“If the predictions of an increase in sea level rise as a result of global warming prove correct . . .  it is likely that there will be a corresponding increase in coastal erosion rates . . . In our view, it could reasonably be expected that the rate of sea level rise might become twice of that presently occurring.”

Trump demanded that Clare County Council allow him to build the wall, which would consist of 200,000 tons of rock along two miles of beach. He said “erosion is likely to accelerate as sea levels rise more quickly.”

Here’s what former U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, a South Carolina Republican who does believe in global warming, had to say.

“It’s diabolical. Donald Trump is working to insure his at-risk properties and his company is trying to figure out how to deal with sea level rise. Meanwhile, he’s saying things to audiences that he must know are not true. . . . You have a soft place in your heart for people who are honestly ignorant, but people who are deceitful, that’s a different thing.”

For more about Trump’s global-warming-endangered golf resort, CLICK HERE for the story from Politico. Or CLICK HERE for a report from Mother Jones magazine.

Maybe you’re not worried about sea levels rising. You might just be concerned about wildfires, heat waves, unprecedented floods, or increasingly frequent and more powerful hurricanes. You may not even care that the term “climate change” as a substitute for “global warming” was the work of the fossil fuel lobby. Let’s not overlook those lobbyists’ thankless work to make us stop worrying about environmental devastation and start loving oil and coal again!

We turn now to those demonstrably false slanders Trump likes to tell about the Democratic Party, its candidates, its platform, and its voters. If you watched any of the Republican National Convention, you heard lots more. But here are a few favorites:

You just have to believe that Joe Biden is a radical socialist and is coming for your guns.

You just have to believe Joe Biden is going to destroy Godand the suburbs, too.

You don’t have to be blindly religious, or even identify as a Republican, to think Trump is on your side; you can simply hang your fallacious beliefs on the economy. Here are some economic situations where Trump’s numbers don’t quite add up.

You just have to believe America is experiencing a manufacturing boom.

You just have to believe that working Americans got the benefit of Republicans’ $2 trillion tax cut.

You just have to believe that it wasn’t the bankers, huge corporations or billionaires who got the lion’s share of the tax cuts.

Business, numbers and math bore you? OK! How about those matters of faith about race relations and racial justice?

You just have to believe that Donald Trump has done more for Black people than any president since Abraham Lincoln.

But of course, you’re no racist. You believe in America First, and that Donald Trump is defending America against all its enemies, especially those treacherous foreigners. One of the most essential beliefs that Trump demands of you is about what he wants you to think of as “the Russia hoax.”

You just have to believe that Vladimir Putin didn’t help him win the election in 2016, and is trying again this year.

Maybe all this is too specific. Maybe you don’t pay that much attention to the news, but know that things in America are not good right now. It must be someone’s fault! Here’s an all-purpose item of faith that can work even if everything else fails:

You just have to believe that Trump didn’t cause the chaos, but he’s going to stop it.

It’s easy. You don’t need evidence, or facts, or logic, or even the testimony of your own eyes. You just need the president’s word, endorsed of course by Rush Limbaugh and Trump’s friends at Fox News. Thinking is hard; it can make your head hurt. Why subject yourself to so much trouble?

You just have to believe!

One of the ads from a campaign aimed at non-Jewish New York City residents in the 60s and 70s.
Levy's bakery used this ad campaign to extend its reach beyond its original market niche.
An ad from the Levy's bakery ad campaign, aimed at New York residents in the 60s and 70s.

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