Get ready for the MAGA Christian nationalist crowd to make the connection between Donald Trump’s surrender to New York authorities on Tuesday and Holy Week. It’ll be Holy Tuesday, and the parallels will write themselves. Any Christian nationalist minister who fails to draw the comparison should have his Venmo account suspended.
Trump is expected to turn himself in and appear in court in Manhattan on Tuesday following his indictment by a New York grand jury. The indictment is still sealed, so the charges against the former president are not yet public. But the grand jury had been hearing evidence about hush money payments made to former porn star Stormy Daniels during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Holy Week, which begins this Sunday, is the most important week of the year in the Christian calendar. Beginning with Palm Sunday, on April 2, and ending with Holy Saturday, on April 8, it follows the narrative of the Passion of Christ, from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem through the Last Supper, his betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, and death. Christ’s resurrection follows on Easter, which falls this year on April 9.
Holy Tuesday is one of the least important days of Holy Week, but it still counts.
In the upside-down world of the Christian nationalists at the heart of the MAGA subculture, Donald Trump — a porn-star-fucking, Putin-loving, psychopathic liar and traitorous crook who is running for president again just to stay out of jail, grift more dollars, wreak more havoc, and seek further revenge against his enemies — is a Christ-like figure. Of course, they will see him as a martyr straight out of the Bible.
It would probably be better for the Christian nationalists of MAGA world if Trump surrendered next Friday, which is Good Friday, the day when believers observe Christ’s crucifixion. Holy Tuesday is a middle-of-the-week drudge day of Holy Week, and biblical scholars have spent a millennium trying to piece together what they think Jesus was doing that day. But the generally accepted version of what happened on Holy Tuesday will still fit nicely into the narrative of victimhood and righteousness that Christian nationalists have built around Trump.
After his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, when the joyful crowd threw palms in front of his donkey to smooth his path, Jesus cleansed the Temple of Jerusalem on Holy Monday, overturning the tables of the moneychangers.
Holy Tuesday was a day of testing for Jesus. As he entered the temple, according to the Gospel of Matthew, “the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’”
Jesus had an answer ready:
“Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.
“When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.”
In fact, the right-wing outrage that erupted after Trump’s indictment in New York was disclosed on Thursday has already taken on an apocalyptic tenor, and MAGA-world characters are beginning to fill their biblical roles. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who has come to symbolize MAGA in Congress, immediately vowed to go to New York to support Trump; she seems to be fulfilling the role of Mary Magdalene, who washed Christ’s feet with her tears and later witnessed his crucifixion. Of course, Michael Cohen, Trump’s onetime lawyer and the star witness against him in the New York case, is being cast by MAGA world as Judas. What could be better for Trump than to have a MAGA minister standing outside the courthouse on Tuesday quoting Matthew?
The problem for the Christian nationalists is that they may have to defend Trump at least four times. In addition to the New York case, Trump is also facing two federal criminal investigations and another in Georgia.
If he is charged in all four cases, where in the Bible will Christian nationalists seek guidance?