Trump Sacrifices Electability to Take Cheap Shot at Pope

Today Pope Francis made headlines by saying that Donald Trump’s views on immigration and his plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico showed that he was “not Christian.” Trump countered by saying:

If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened

Tara Golshan believes that the clash with the Pope will help Trump’s prospects in South Carolina by:

  • Helping him control the last few news cycles before the South Carolina primary, stunting any momentum Marco Rubio got from his Nikki Haley endorsement.
  • Endearing him with local evangelicals, who are not necessarily sympathetic to the Catholic Pontiff
  • Bolstering his machismo persona by standing up to the popular Pope

Golshan may be correct concerning the South Carolina primary, but she ignores the incident’s impact on Trump’s general election outlook. The winner of the Catholic vote has won the overall popular vote in almost every election since FDR. 86% of American Catholics have a favorable view of Pope Francis. The machismo may feel good, but Donald Trump hurt himself with a critical voting bloc to gain a few points in a primary that he was probably going to win anyway.