Dr. Russell Moore, head of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, has called on President Donald Trump to step down. In a Friday morning tweet, Moore referred to Trump’s waning time in office as “12 dangerous days” and reminded him that “people are dead. The Capitol is ransacked.”
Mr. President, people are dead. The Capitol is ransacked. There are 12 dangerous days for our country left.
Could you please step down and let our country heal? https://t.co/wP3niITQv6
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) January 8, 2021
This comes after Trump made his big return to the platform that first made him a political force following a 12 hour ban. Though Trump recorded a video with an unusually conciliatory tone on Thursday night, his Friday Twitter presence was back to its usual bluster, praising the “75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me” and predicting that they will have a “GIANT VOICE long into the future.”
In 2016, Moore set himself up as Trump’s most prominent Southern Baptist critic, vocally condemning then-candidate Trump’s ascendancy even as the overwhelming majority of his denomination became enthusiastic in their support. Moore’s job became precarious as big churches and donors threatened to withhold funds in protest to his critiques. Following a meeting with Southern Baptist Convention leadership, Moore has toned down his rhetoric even as his SBC colleagues like Dr. Albert Mohler have grown vocal in their support of the President.
Moore’s 2016 stance appears to be validated now, following a chaotic week in Washington D.C. that saw Trump inciting a mob of rioters to overtake the U.S. Capitol building in protest of a democratic election. And in the words of Washington Post religion reporter Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Moore has taken the opportunity to come “out swinging.”
The calls for Trump to step down early have grown in the wake of the Capitol building insurrection, with numerous prominent Democrats and a few Republicans saying another impeachment is in order. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao have both resigned, as has former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger, Melania Trump’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham and numerous other White House officials.
Prominent Christians have been wary of wading into Trump criticism over the last four years, but Wednesday’s events led to a rare influx of pointed denouncements from Christian leaders. But Moore’s call is notable both for his high profile position within the SBC and for the dramatic action he is calling for.