Ron DeSantis sending 'very dangerous sign' to GOP voters — and Trump’s worried: religious scholar

Ron DeSantis sending 'very dangerous sign' to GOP voters — and Trump’s worried: religious scholar
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, speaks with members of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., leadership during the governor's first visit to the base since becoming governor, Jan. 16, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is overtly courting Christian nationalist voters, and Donald Trump lashed out at his most likely GOP challenger.

The Florida governor released a new video presenting him as a savior anointed by God to save the country, which the former president perceived as a direct threat to his grip over right-wing evangelical voters -- and historian Sarah Posner told the Washington Post that Trump was right to be concerned.

"Trump knows that his base believes God anointed him to lead America at a critical juncture, and that many of them believe him to be a messianic figure who alone can rescue America from what they call demonic forces (liberalism, civil rights, 'deep state,' and more)," Posner told the Post columnist Greg Sargent. "None of Trump’s potential rivals have so blatantly tried to claim that divine blessing."

"It’s a very dangerous sign that DeSantis is reading the base — which has been bombarded with ever more radical claims of anointings, prophecy and spiritual warfare against the left — as receptive to savior alternatives to Trump," she added.

DeSantis was explicitly sending a message to voters who believe America was founded as a Christian nation, using their language, and signaling that he shares their vision of taking the country back from the forces of evil, Posner said.

"The video is a prime example," said Posner, a historical scholar of the religious right. "DeSantis has also used a revealing misquote from the Bible, calling on supporters to 'put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the left’s schemes.'"

"The 'armor of God” quote actually reads, 'take your stand against the devil’s schemes,'" Posner added. "He substitutes 'the left' for 'the devil,' demonstrating to his base that he, like them, will treat politics as a battleground for spiritual warfare to vanquish the left."

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