Al Sharpton: Trump’s $60 Bibles ‘a spit in the face of people that really believe’ | Donald Trump

Al Sharpton: Trump’s  Bibles ‘a spit in the face of people that really believe’ | Donald Trump

The spectacle of Donald Trump selling $60 Bibles is “a spit in the face of people that really believe”, the Rev Al Sharpton said, amid widespread backlash over the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s latest moneymaking scheme.

“Blasphemy certainly comes to mind,” Sharpton told MSNBC.

“I think that people ought to realise how offensive this is to those of us that really believe in the Bible. He’s doing this during Holy Week. Tomorrow is Good Friday, Sunday is Easter. Of all of the times you want to hustle using the Bible, why would you do it during Holy Week, which is really a spit in the face of people that really believe in the Bible from a Christian point of view?”

Trump announced the Bible project on Tuesday, in a video posted to his Truth Social platform and in concert with Lee Greenwood, the country and western singer whose signature song, God Bless the USA, is played at Trump rallies and gives its name to the new Bible-hawking project.

A website selling the Bibles featured Trump but claimed the project was “not political and has nothing to do with any political campaign”.

A statement added: “ is not owned, managed or controlled by Donald J Trump, the Trump Organization, CIC Ventures LLC or any of their respective principals or affiliates.

“ uses Donald J Trump’s name, likeness and image under paid license from CIC Ventures LLC, which license may be terminated or revoked according to its terms.”

Set up by people close to Trump, CIC Ventures is registered at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida, and has worked on other money-making ventures including digital trading cards and $400 gold sneakers.

Citing a source “familiar with the details of the business arrangement”, the New York Times reported that Trump is “getting royalties” from purchases of the branded Bible, which includes copies of the US constitution and other founding documents.

In his video announcement, Trump vowed to “defend God in the public square and not allow the media or the leftwing groups to silence, censor or discriminate against us”.

But as he is campaigning for president while facing multimillion-dollar civil penalties and 88 criminal charges in four cases, so Trump has diverted significant funds to paying legal costs.

The multiplying ironies of Trump selling Bibles have been widely remarked since the plan emerged.

Trump continues to rely on conservative evangelical Christian support despite being married three times, accused of sexual misconduct by more than 25 women, legally adjudicated a rapist, facing 34 criminal charges for paying off an adult film star who claimed an affair and often struggling to articulate his own supposed religious beliefs.

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Sharpton is a long-term civil rights leader, political activist and MSNBC contributor. On Thursday, Willie Geist, a Morning Joe co-host, said: “I mean, $60. First of all, [Trump] wants you to pay for what he calls his Bible. There’s no your Bible or my Bible or Rev’s Bible or anybody else’s. It’s ‘my Bible’. Sixty bucks.

“We all know where the money’s going. They say it’s not going to the campaign, but there are awful lot of legal bills that need to be paid here … who knows what he’s going to sell, but I think we should defer to the Rev Al Sharpton on questions of the Bible.”

Sharpton said: “I wonder how many ministers or conservative evangelicals will go to their pulpit tomorrow or on Sunday, Easter, using the Trump Bible. They ought to be defrocked if they would even try and act like this.

“This is nothing but … a hustle. You know, when I was growing up, I was licensed in the largest Black pentecostal church at the time, Washington Temple, very respected. But every once in a while a huckster evangelist would come through and they would sell blessed oils, blessed cloth.

“Let’s remember this man [Trump] has sold the pieces of his garments that he went to court with [for $4,699]. He has sold sneakers, gold sneakers with red bottoms. Now Bibles. I mean, if he’s not like the old hustlers that used to [profit] off old ladies that believed that this was the way to God, then I don’t know what it is.

“And for those in the evangelical community not to come out and say, ‘Wait a minute, during the Holy Week, that’s a step too far,’ makes us wonder where they’re committed.”

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