TV preacher Pat Robertson is not nearly as potent a force in Republican politics as he once was, but it'd be an overstatement to suggest the televangelist has become completely irrelevant.
Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, for example, remains a go-to outlet for Republicans eager to reach politically conservative evangelical Christians. Indeed, Donald Trump himself welcomed Robertson into the White House for an exclusive interview not long after taking office.
What's more, Jay Sekulow has become a prominent member of the Republican president's legal operation, and Sekulow arrived on Team Trump by way of the American Center for Law and Justice -- a far-right group created by Pat Robertson.
With this in mind, it came as something of a surprise yesterday when Robertson expressed exasperation over Trump's anti-election crusade. The Washington Post reported:
Televangelist Pat Robertson, one of President Trump's staunchest backers, on Monday described Trump as "very erratic," called on him to accept that President-elect Joe Biden won and said the Republican should not consider running again in 2024. The comments marked a sharp turnaround for Robertson, who recently voiced support for Trump's false claims of widespread voter fraud and declared before the election that God had told him Trump was going to win.
On his "700 Club" program, the TV preacher specifically said, in reference to Trump's election defeat, "I think it would be well to say, 'You've had your day and it's time to move on.'"
In case that weren't quite enough, Robertson went on to highlight some of the outgoing president's more outlandish falsehoods while suggesting Trump might be literally delusional.
"You know, with all his talent and the ability to be able to raise money and grow large crowds, the president still lives in an alternate reality," Robertson told viewers. "He really does. People say, 'Well, he lies about this, that and the other.' But no, he isn't lying; to him, that's the truth."
In case this isn't obvious, there is a degree of irony to all of this. For example, Pat Robertson probably isn't the ideal messenger for a message that says, "You've had your day and it's time to move on." For that matter, given the televangelist's record of over-the-top radicalism, he probably shouldn't be too comfortable on a high horse, taking aim at someone else's "alternate reality."
But even putting these relevant details aside, an uncomfortable question hangs overhead: have we really reached the point in our modern political history at which radical TV preacher Pat Robertson is a voice of moderation in the Republican Party?