Philly archbishop says the press is being too hard on President Trump

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia listens Nov. 14 during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia listens Nov. 14 during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia accused the press of being too hostile to President Donald J. Trump and of “very deliberately” maligning religious faith during a radio interview on Monday.

“The elite, of course, kind of pooh-pooh religious faith,” the archbishop said during the radio program hosted by conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt. “It’s important for us not to desire to be a part of that elite to the point that we give up our faith.”


Promoting his new book Strangers in a Strange Land, the archbishop responded agreeably to Mr. Hewitt’s guess that fewer than one in four journalists in the mainstream press held religious beliefs.

“Well, it looks that way. It certainly is a contrast to the vast majority of people in our country who really are believers,” Archbishop Chaput replied. “Maybe confused believers, but nonetheless believers.”

He also commented on press coverage that has been critical of Mr. Trump, saying it is more intense than what former President Barack Obama endured.

“It’s just amazing to me how hostile the press is to everything that the president does,” the archbishop said. “I don’t want to be partisan in my comments here, but it seems to me if we really are serious about our common responsibilities as citizens, we support the president whether we accept everything he stands for or not and wish him success rather than trying to undermine him.”

“It’s just amazing to me how hostile the press is to everything that the president does,” Archbishop Chaput said.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly denounced the media, using his personal Twitter account to call out reporters and media outlets for what he claims are biased reports, even dubbing The New York Times and CNN “fake news.”

“We can clearly disagree with him and I think it’s important to do that, especially on issues that count, you know, moral issues,” the archbishop continued. “Nonetheless it’s important for us to at least hope for success so that our country can come to a better place.”

Archbishop Chaput was a vocal critic of both Mr. Trump and his challenger, Hillary Clinton, in the run-up to the November election and he has kept up the heat on Mr. Trump over the president’s immigration policies and refugee ban.

Still, he urged the University of Notre Dame to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to speak at commencement, an honor usually given to new presidents but one that the school’s president suggested may not be bestowed on Mr. Trump. He also praised the Trump administration’s “apparent sympathy for some key pro-life concerns,” pointing to the president’s promise to defund Planned Parenthood.

Responding to a question about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who sided with the Little Sisters of the Poor in a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, the archbishop said he was encouraged by the nomination.

But he offered a generally grim view of government, saying that it views the church and the family as competition to be eliminated.

“The government, as it grows, doesn’t want any kind of competition, and competition of course are mediating groups like the church [and] more importantly, the family,” he said. “The government likes to make sure that it makes the final decision and nothing stands in the way, so it has some vested interest as it grows in eliminating the influence of the church and the family.”

During the interview, the archbishop agreed with Mr. Hewitt’s assertion that Mr. Trump is facing intense resistance from “the elites,” who he said are trying “to destroy” the president, comparing it to how Pope Benedict XVI was characterized by “the left” at the start of his pontificate.

“I think that’s right,” the archbishop said.

He conceded that “the right has shown the same kind of hostility” to former President Barack Obama, though he said the criticism Mr. Obama faced was “to a lesser degree” than what Mr. Trump faces today.

The former president was the subject of a years-long smear campaign, fueled by Mr. Trump, which claimed that the first African-American president was not born in the United States. Despite his public statements about his Christian faith, many of Mr. Obama’s opponents also alleged that he secretly believed in Islam.

Still, the archbishop said that the nation “really has to change in terms of working together” and longed for the 1950s when, he said, “there was a real sense of that. People who disagreed with others seriously still wished for common success, and that seems to have disappeared altogether now.”

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Derrick Weiller
3 years 7 months ago

1) Hewitt's guesses are of no matter whatsoever. It is empirical data that matters.
2) Where else have we heard that "...our common responsibilities as citizens [are to] support the president whether we accept everything he stands for or not." Viet Nam? Iraq?
3) "the criticism Mr. Obama faced was “to a lesser degree” than what Mr. Trump faces today";
this, simply because Obama was not the preposterous buffoon that Trump is.

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 years 7 months ago

Your point 1):this current Church Hierarchy is actually partial to socialist leaning are the Editors of America Magazine, with the caveat that it cannot be Godless Socialism.

Your point 3): the Archbishop did NOT say that or imply it in the are extrapolating on your Point1) above
Your point 3 as extended does not go to substance....sure Trumpt is a verbal boor but he is talking directly to Mr Workingman in his language. This is the same Workingman who voted for Obama in a prior election because he made eloquent promises..
Trump's so called lies are actually real "whoppers"....just like "the biggest fish stories" the average guy hears and automatically discounts but absorbs the message. It's not an excuse but the fact is Trump talks to the average guy.... They don't offend or affect the Workingman in the slightest.
On the other hand, Obama's so called lies really were knowing misstatements meant to mislead, and which actually effected the Workingman:
"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor
"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan"
"The average family will save $2,500 per year under the ACA"

The contrast is between the "college professor approach" with its well selected and carefully chosen words and phrases with the "off the cuff" running commentary of the inexperienced politician use to dealing with workmen. The contrast could not be greater and more grating!
The National Media has already apologized once for its total failure to gauge the election results and its causes while it was all unfolding. That same Media recognizing its past flaws is none the less reluctant to abandon its elitist position and has amplified its critique and "exposure" of what it characterizes as "buffoonery", "boorishness", etc. It may be true but once again it misses the point: it misreads the Workingman reaction and concentrates on how the "better" people react.
So in sum : yes!...Trump speaks frequently like a boor and a buffoon but there is apparently enough genius behind it that he wiped out at least 6 highly qualified experienced Republican politicians for the nomination; shrugged off and overcame rejection by The Republican Establishment; overcame a an unending barrage of uniformly negative press; and yet he defeated an experienced politician with an established political machine who spent at least twice as much money using an experienced staff five or six times the size of Trump's.
You may not like it; you may deplore both the result and the continued buffoonery;... but you have marvel at the result.

Derrick Weiller
3 years 7 months ago

"Genius", yes.
Integrity; character; maturity; statesmanship; dignity? No!
...yet this repulsive mendacious vulgar narcissistic sociopath represents The United States of America

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 years 7 months ago

The discussion I engaged on was the assertion of ".....preposterous buffoonery "......not character attributes.
The only reference you make on this point that is close to target is that Trump is " vulgar" with which I think I said "I agree".
As to your other pejoratives, you must consider the final choice the electorate was given.
Many would agree with your assessment of Mr Trump's character, presentation, and physical flaws but on these points considered the alternative to be still worse. I would suggest that many voters just may have weighed the two candidates policy differences
So the question that remains is why so many people who voted for Mr Obama voted this time for Mr Trump?
Clearly there was something that caused this wholesale shift. Just decrying the result with references to obvious character and physical flaws of the winner doesn't advance the inquiry.

Derrick Weiller
3 years 7 months ago

Fair enough...

3 years 7 months ago

I don't know how Archbishop Chaput arrives at his conclusions. The media "more critical" than of Obama? When the far right media questioned Obama's citizenship? The media questions everything Trump does? We'll, yes, when all news outlets correctly point out that over 60% of the time he lies. Archbishop Chaput worries about criticism by the "elites". Doesn't he realize that the President is an "elite". He campaigned against the elites of Wall Street by criticizing Hillary Clinton for her ties to the elites. Please look at his cabinet; filled with the elites from Wall Street, where it is reported that a Goldman Sachs exec sees him five times each day.

Lastly the Archbishop says he doesn't want to sound partisan. Where was that practice when he and other Bishops basically said you can't vote for Clinton because of her position on abortion.

Archbishop Chaput. Seriously? As ye sow shall ye reap.

Lisa Weber
3 years 7 months ago

I disagree that the press is too hard on Donald Trump. They are reporting on a man who is corrupt and incompetent. It is also reasonable to suspect that he is treasonous, mentally ill and only semi-literate. The chaos and incompetence of his administration is frightening.

Also frightening is the lack of reasonable response from the Republican members of Congress. Apparently any conflict of interest, bizarre behavior or outrageous lie is okay with them if the occupant of the White House is Republican. Congress should be at least as hard on Trump as the press is. Impeachment is the proper course of action for Congress.

I have never been much impressed with what Archbishop Chaput says. Longing for the 1950's is peculiar at best. The protests and social change of the 1960's were a reaction to the injustices of the 1950's. He is yearning for a fantasy world.

MaryMargaret Flynn
3 years 7 months ago

thanks for writing the above with which I agree 100%, And you did so logically and with civility.

Vincent Gaglione
3 years 7 months ago

Neither Hewitt nor Chaput satisfy my standards for judging the media. In both instances their political points of view inform their consideration of how the media does its work. In both instances they have themselves used the media to their political advantage.

Vince Killoran
3 years 7 months ago

So unusual for an archbishop to be offering pure political commentary. I don't mean that he shouldn't weigh in on the issues of the day from a faith perspective. It's the humdrum comments that would fit right in on talk radio or one of those cable news roundups that is troubling.

3 years 7 months ago

When Christ suggested renderng unto Caesar what is Caesar's I doubt he meant unquestioning support for the ruler's lies; nor do I think we should ignore or condone Mr. Trump's rather regular use of falsehoods.

Emmett Burke
3 years 7 months ago

The press has deservedly published the lies of Trump, the man who spent 8 years attacking Obama with lies. His campaign was a lie and his election illegitimate. The rightists say give him a chance. He is being given a chance and look at his cabinet. Look at his executive orders. Look at his spokes people who are serial liers.
His first month was a disaster, but things will get worse with actions on environmental rules, the abandonment of actions to reduce global warming, reductions in fiscal prudence e.g loosening of
Dode Frank rules, . Ok he did show case a move against abortion. But will that really reduce abortions? Rather surprisingly abortions went down under Obama probably because of the increased availability of contraceptive mechanisms

Richard Murray
3 years 7 months ago

What does Archbishop Chaput think of the fact that Steve Bannon praises Satan? Yes, that's right: Bannon praises Satan.

Richard Murray
3 years 7 months ago

Downloadable here:

Martha Murray
3 years 7 months ago

I am concerned that the unchurched media will never find Him or seek His path as long as Church leaders sustain the political divides. Having a pro-life advocate in the White House again should be cause for great joy. It is a monumental step in the right direction. There is no true collective, lasting concern for humanity before birth or after, in a culture of death. Help the community fix that evil and many of the other societal concerns will Improve as well. Work with our leaders and pray for their success. If Notre Dame does not extend the same invitation to President Trump as they did to President Obama, I will be very disappointed, not only with Catholic education, but with Catholic leadership. Take the high road.

Lisa Weber
3 years 7 months ago

What about his incessant lying? Satan is called "the father of lies" for good reason.

Martha Murray
3 years 7 months ago

There are always lies i. e. You can keep your healthcare etc. etc. It's interesting how many judgements have been leveled against an administration that has not even been in place for a month yet.

Derrick Weiller
3 years 7 months ago

It is even more interesting how "Trump/Pence" is so like "Barnum/Bailey".


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