Those who follow Donald Trump on Twitter will be well accustomed to him prefixing every mention of Hillary with the word ‘crooked’. But whilst Trump has frequently tried to discredit Clinton by painting her as a liar he has never gone so far as to call her the devil. Until now that it. During a speech last night he suggested that in backing Hillary, Bernie Sanders had made a Faustian pact. Trump said of Hillary:
‘She’s the devil. He’s made a deal with the devil. It’s true’
It’s tempting to say that Trump really has crossed the line this time around. But then the wild applause which greeted his remark at the Republican rally in Pennsylvania is the noisy rebuke that suggests otherwise. Trump will continue to say things like this as long as it goes down well with his supporters. And whilst it’s hard to imagine where he can go after comparing Hillary to Satan, it’s clear the Republican nominee won’t be reigning in his remarks any time soon if it keeps winning him applause – and headlines.
Whilst Trump has made a habit of calling Hillary names, there’s something different about his latest comment. Trump has professed to being a Christian himself; he said ‘I believe in God. I am Christian. I think The Bible is certainly, it is the book.’ So what can we make of his latest remarks about Hillary?
As ever with Trump, it’s difficult to know whether his remark was flippant or part of a bigger tactical strategy. Either way, his comparison of Hillary to the devil is a big gamble. The sizeable chunk of Americans who profess Christian faith is a familiar talking point and there is a good reason why: 69 per cent of registered voters in the US election say they are Christians. Whilst 62,000,000 people – one in four – identify themselves as evangelicals, making them the country’s largest religious group. It’s unclear how Trump’s latest comments will go down amongst this huge portion of the electorate. But Trump’s comparison shouldn’t be taken lightly – and nor will they be by millions of Americans.