In a recent interview with Religion News Services, SBTS President Albert Mohler was directly pressed by journalist Jonathan Merritt on whether or not he’d give Bill Clinton an apology after famously lamenting in 2016, “If I were to support, much less endorse, Donald Trump for president, I would actually have to go back and apologize to former President Bill Clinton” in light of him now supporting and endorsing Donald Trump for President.
Mohler, the most influential man in the SBC, has had a very adversarial relationship with Trump over the years, blasting the president in print and media for his low sexual ethic and personal immorality.
During the 2016 elections, Mohler signalled his inability to vote for Trump, asking “When it comes to Donald Trump, evangelicals are going to have to ask the huge question, ‘Is it worth destroying our moral credibility to support someone who is beneath the baseline level of human decency for anyone who should deserve our vote?” In a 2016 op-ed for the Washington Times, Mohler opined “I am among those who see evangelical support for Trump as a horrifying embarrassment – a price for possible political gain that is simply unthinkable and too high to pay.”
In 1998 when President Bill Clinton was going through a scandal-filled second term, the SBC passed a resolution on moral character, declaring “tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment,” and therefore urged “all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity, and the highest character.”
Mohler likewise dragged Clinton back during the 1998 impeachment, decrying him as unfit, disqualified and describing Clinton as “a living demonstration of the fact that character matters, and that a lack of character can be fatal for leadership.”
Then he changed his mind. On April 15, 2020 Mohler laid down his steadfast, staunch opposition to Trump and announced he would be voting for his long-time nemesis, sexual perversities and all, and would be furthermore be voting Republican for the foreseeable future. This action caused the dogs of war to howl all across the SBC, disappointing and enraging many parties who saw the move as Mohler selling out and selling his soul. Particularly, many have recalled the famous Clinton call-out and wanted to know either: A) How Mohler reconciled the two notions, or B) Whether he would give Clinton the apology that was due.
We finally got the answer to one of these two questions. Merrit, recalling the phrase uttered by Mohler, asked him about it during the interview in a section that did not make the final cut. In a tweet about the incident, Merritt recounts how he pressed Mohler for consistency by bringing up the “if/then” quote from Mohler where he said, “If I were to support, much less endorse, Donald Trump for president, I would actually have to go back and apologize to former President Bill Clinton,” and asked “Since you did indeed come to publicly support Trump, will you now apologize to Bill Clinton?”
Mohler responded that he did not feel he needed to do that, refusing to apologize to and declining to stand by his own convictions and standards, bearing (only) one of his two faces for Southern Baptists to see.
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