Donald Trump on forgiveness: 'I don't bring God into that picture'

Donald Trump, a Republican presidential hopeful, speaks at a campaign rally in Laconia, N.H., on Thursday. New York Times/Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist
caption arrowCaption
Donald Trump, a Republican presidential hopeful, speaks at a campaign rally in Laconia, N.H., on Thursday. New York Times/Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist

Credit: Jim Galloway

Credit: Jim Galloway

Many a political obituary was written for Donald Trump over the weekend, after he said of U.S. Sen. John McCain:

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

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Trump made his remarks at a Saturday gathering of the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. See the entire C-SPAN clip here. Trump, naturally, refused to apologize for his remarks about McCain.

What received less attention, but may be more important to Trump's future as a candidate in a party that values evangelicals, was the next question that came from Frank Luntz. He had to ask it twice before he got an answer to this:  "Have you ever asked God for forgiveness?" Watch:

Said Trump:

"I'm not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so. If I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture."

If you suspect that the Donald isn't an up-to-speed theologian, you may have grounds. The Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, whom Trump cited as an inspiration, died 22 years ago -- and left his pulpit in 1984. Also, Peale wasn't a Presbyterian, as the presidential candidate implied. He was ordained Methodist, then shifted to the Reform Church of America.

The Washington Post's Dan Balz wonders whether Trump will be "immune from the laws of political gravity" for long, but regardless, he most likely will be on stage for the first GOP presidential debate Aug. 6:

That debate promises to be dominated by the issue of Trump, and every candidate on that stage will have to weigh the political consequences of challenging him directly. Whether Trump will begin to weigh the consequences of his actions is another question. So far, there's no indication of a change of heart. But for the candidate, the stakes have gotten noticeably higher after what he did Saturday.

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Via Todd Rehm comes word that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will take his presidential campaign to the Muscogee County GOP in Columbus on the evening of Aug. 8, after he appears in Atlanta at the RedState Gathering.

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Get ready for a fiery national debate on this. From the Los Angeles Times:

The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.

A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to "marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease."

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Even governments get frustrated with tax collectors. The local governments and school systems in Floyd County, Rome, and Cave Spring have been told that a local business overpaid its sales taxes by $4.5 million.

The state Department of Revenue gave a share of that money back to the locals. And now it wants the cash back. From the Rome News-Tribune:

The problem, Doss said, is the secrecy that cloaks the revenue department. Local leaders don't know the business that made the accounting error. Revenue officials say that information is private and proprietary.

Local officials haven't seen detailed calculations proving that $4.5 million is, in fact, the correct amount owed. They only learned days ago that over $1 million of the $4.5 million is 12 percent compounded interest since 2005.

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The fellow in charge of refereeing a State Bar complaint against House Speaker David Ralston has been given a state job. But that's not a problem, say the people who hired him. From Robin McDonald and the Daily Report:

JQC Chairman Lester Tate on Friday announced the hire, effective Sept. 1, of Hiawassee attorney Mark Dehler. Dehler has spent the last year serving as the special master in the State Bar of Georgia's ethics complaint against House Speaker David Ralston.

A lawyer for Ralston's former client, whose civil suit is the basis of the bar complaint against Ralston, said Dehler's new role "looks bad."

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Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, does not like the new nuclear deal with Iran -- and neither do the people who get his newsletter.

Carter, who records his days in voluminous detail in his email newsletter, sent out a poll question last week asking whether people liked or disliked the accord. Carter reported back Sunday: "An overwhelming 88.4% of respondents said they do not support the deal."

Not the most scientific of polls, but certainly a political affirmation for his position, one also held by virtually every Republican.

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The French newswire AFP has a historic lede this morning:

The Cuban red, white and blue standard joined the flags of other US allies flying outside the building in the US capital at about 4:00 am (0800 GMT), according to an AFP photographer.