Humoring the President Was Not Harmless

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As a little leaven works through a loaf, indulging deceit led to disaster at the Capitol last Wednesday.

The administration officials and members of Congress who enabled President Trump’s attempts to delegitimize the presidential election did not truly believe he won. They chose to coddle the president’s deception (and, I suspect, self-deception) because they thought it would endear them to his most loyal voters, and they assumed no one would get hurt.

“What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change,” an unnamed senior Republican official told The Washington Post in November. “He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.”

I think Trump will indeed leave, as he finally said he would in a brief video Thursday. But that doesn’t mean there was no downside. It doesn’t mean no one got hurt. In Washington on Wednesday, we witnessed a “failed insurrection,” to use the phrase of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in which pro-Trump demonstrators, some armed with guns, stormed the Capitol and rioted inside. The chaos claimed multiple lives as it made credible all but the direst warnings about what Trump’s elevation to the highest office in our country could bring.

Humoring him was not harmless.

For Christians, this should be no surprise. Scripture warns us that small patterns and habits grow to shape our lives in large ways. This is true of both faithfulness and sin, virtue and vice. “Don’t you know that a little …

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