Evangelical discernment

Undoubtedly, everybody in the universe has heard by now that the First Felon is a tax cheat.

The tax data examined by The Times provides a road map of revelations, from write-offs for the cost of a criminal defense lawyer and a mansion used as a family retreat to a full accounting of the millions of dollars the president received from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

Together with related financial documents and legal filings, the records offer the most detailed look yet inside the president’s business empire. They reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image — honed through his star turn on “The Apprentice” — that helped propel him to the White House and that still undergirds the loyalty of many in his base.

Ultimately, Mr. Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.

But nobody with the barest knowledge of Trump’s conduct through the years — six bankruptcies, tens of dozens of stiffed subcontractors, on and on — can credibly claim to be surprised by this news; Donald Trump has never been anything but a corrupt fraud.

You’re probably wondering: Will documented corruption affect his evangelical base? The answer is … no. For starters, churches commit tax fraud on an epic scale, and everybody knows it. Second, they’re distracted by this picture:

You can see the problem: On the one hand, there is the First Fabulist doing exactly the same thing that every pastor in the country does. And on the other hand: A Christian actress cheerfully tolerates a boob-grab by her husband.

Truly, we are approaching the End Times, and wickedness stalks the land.

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