Donald Trump has a religion problem. The billionaire business mogul isn't exactly struggling because of his vague religious beliefs — Trump still has zero difficulty drawing in large crowds and forging ahead in the polls and has an easy, albeit inexplicable, rapport with those who show up to support him, after all. No, the biggest issue on Trump's docket at the moment seems to be the fact that he comes across as hollow, with little substance to back up his claims of spirituality other than a few poorly ad libbed one liners. On Friday, that sort of shallow religious pandering landed the GOP candidate in hot water when Trump brought a Bible to the Values Voter Summit, a conservative religious conference, in Washington, D.C.
It wasn't just any Bible either — according to the brash businessman, the Bible in tow, a worn navy-blue copy with faded gold lettering across the spine and cover, had been given to him by his mother, a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church. (Trump has claimed to be Presbyterian as well, although the church he has claimed to attend, Marble Collegiate Church, has disputed that fact, telling multiple media outlets this past August that Trump was not an "active member.")
"I brought my Bible ... it's the First Presbyterian Church, Jamaica (Queens) and this was written by my mother, with my name, with my address, with everything," Trump said, opening up the Bible to show an inscription to the audience of conference attendees on Friday. "I saw this and I had to bring it."
Trump also made sure to highlight his love of Christmas, complaining that political correctness had made the word all but disappear in recent years. "Remember the expression 'Merry Christmas?' You don't see it [anymore]," said Trump. "You're going to see it if I'm elected."
Immediately, Twitter erupted with jokes about the 2016 candidate's obvious religious bait:
Audience members and social media users weren't the only ones getting in on the action either — Trump's GOP rivals couldn't wait to sink their teeth into the new material.
"[Trump] said that his favorite book was the Bible," said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, mockingly holding up a copy of Trump's The Art of the Deal and claiming that the GOP front-runner had left his "bible" behind at the podium. "He couldn't name one verse [when asked by reporters to pick a favorite] ... you know he hasn't read the Bible because his name's not in the Bible."
Trump's religious act might work at rallies and speaking gigs along the campaign trail, but at a gathering of devout voters, the candidate's roll seems to be slowing.