The Catholic Case for Donald Trump?
For the length of the campaign season, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has been embroiled in a major fight with workers at his Trump International Hotel and casino in Las Vegas. First he was trying to prevent them from forming a union; now, having failed that, he strives to deny them a good contract. If I were trying to make a Catholic case for Trump’s presidential run, Catholic social teaching on labor and work would probably not be the avenue I’d take. Yet that’s exactly the counterintuitive approach taken by former US Ambassador to the Vatican Francis Rooney in Catholic case for Trump is about jobs and wages. “Catholic thought is in sync with what Trump has brought forward,” argues the Ambassador. “Perhaps less nuanced than some would like, he has tangibly and succinctly brought forth the urgent need to bring more good jobs back to America and to get wages rising again.”
Count Villanova Theology Professor Gerald Beyer unconvinced. Beyer responded, “Catholic social teaching certainly affirms the need to create jobs, as Rooney contends… However, Catholic social teaching has never affirmed that an “invisible hand” can work its magic through the market economy to promote the well-being of workers and their families.” Reviewing Trump’s record, Beyer concludes, “Catholics should ask themselves if Donald Trump really shares the vision of their tradition — for American workers and their brothers and sisters globally — regardless of their gender, race, immigration status or nationality.”
I can’t make much sense of Trump. His ponderings are too erratic and lacking in detail or consistency to attach to an ideology or even school of thought. But maybe we can approach the question not from Trump himself but to ask what political milieu is developing around him. Trying to be as kind as possible, it looks somewhat like Gaullism. Like our current phenomenon, Gaullism was a center-right movement build around a charismatic though controversial figure – Charles De Gaulle. It represented a split in the center right – not part of the internationalist, pro-American Neoliberal French center right but a more nationalist conservativism that had made its peace with much of the social welfare state, just as Trump differs from the GOP establishment on trade, internationalism and his acceptance of Medicare and Social Security. Gaullism was a somewhat secularized version of Christian Democracy, particularly in Gaullism’s left wing tendency. So you can maybe draw a slight connection between CST and a cleaned up version of Trump, but it is a very thin thread.
It certainly is no sin to be a Republican as is the political party of Ambassador Rooney. However, it is a sin to put your political party before people. His writing reflects a long held (Republican) political philosophy a denial for the dignity of work. However, I would expect the Ambassador to the Vatican to look closer at the history of Mr.Trump and his respect for workers and compare that with the social justice teaching of the Church. The facts are clear. He is on the downside on this issues. I would leave the confessional door open for both Mr. Rooney and Mr. Trump on this issue.
Trump has never been associated with helping labor .He has cheated all the people he could .Casinos, contractors & and stock holders. I would not like to be hanging until he began to support labor unions .