Former President Donald Trump, his campaign and their allies unleashed a barrage of political criticism this weekend, invoking religion to attack President Biden for recognizing International Transgender Day of Visibility – which, coincidentally, fell this year on Sunday Easter — and also making false claims that Biden recently banned children from submitting religious egg designs for a White House Easter art contest.

The attacks come after Trump announced he was selling $60 Bibles, which drew criticism from Democrats and some religious leaders, and as Trump fired off dozens of social media posts on Sunday aimed at his political rivals and his legal troubles.

The latest attack began on Friday, after the White House issued a proclamation recognizing Sunday as International Transgender Day of Visibility and called on Americans to “join us in uplifting the lives and voices of transgender people across America.” our nation and work to eliminate violence and discrimination based on gender identity.”

The statement was not new. Since 2009, International Transgender Day of Visibility has been observed annually on March 31, and the Biden administration has marked the day every year since Biden was elected. Meanwhile, the date of Easter changes from year to year, falling on the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the spring equinox.

Trump and Republicans, however, immediately dismissed the coincidence as an attack on Easter. House Majority Leader Mike Johnson (R-La.) accused the White House of having “betrayed the central tenet of Easter — which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

“To ban sacred truth and tradition – while at the same time proclaiming Easter Sunday as ‘Transgender Day’ – is outrageous and abhorrent. The American people are watching,” Johnson wrote.

In a statement Saturday, Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said declaring Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday was “blasphemous” and called on Biden “to issue an apology to the millions of Catholics and Christians across America who believe that tomorrow is for one celebration only – the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

When asked on Sunday, Leavitt did not address the issue, but again repeated the false claim that Biden “chose” Easter Sunday to recognize Transgender Day of Visibility, even though it has fallen on March 31 since 2009.

“The Biden administration has spent years pandering to left-wing activists and disrespecting the Christian faith,” Leavitt said in a statement to The Washington Post.

Biden, a devout Catholic, speaks frequently about his faith and attends church every weekend. He is the second Catholic to be president of the United States. On Sunday morning, he issued a statement celebrating Easter observances.

“As we gather with loved ones, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice. We pray for each other and enjoy the blessing of the dawn of new possibilities,” Biden said. “And with wars and conflicts taking their toll on innocent lives around the world, we renew our commitment to working for peace, security and dignity for all people.”

Leavitt also criticized Biden for allegedly having “banned children from submitting religious egg designs to his Easter art event,” referring to a long-standing Easter tradition in which children of National Guard members send decorated eggs to be displayed. at the White House.

The American Egg Board, which administers the contest, said the rules dictating what is allowed in the Easter egg decorating contest have remained consistent for more than 45 years — including during the Trump administration. Contest guidelines state that eggs “must not include any objectionable content, religious symbols, overt religious themes or partisan political statements.”

“The Egg Board and other commodity boards are prohibited from discriminating in all programs and activities on the basis of religion, political beliefs and all other stated categories,” said Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board, in a statement.

That hasn’t stopped Republicans and conservative media outlets — including South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and Fox News — from highlighting the restrictions, suggesting they were new to the Biden administration.

On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.), senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, defended Biden, pointing out that the date of Easter changes every year .

“Apparently the president finds transgender people ‘abhorrent,’ and I think he should think about that,” Warnock said. “This is the opposite of the Christian faith. Jesus centered the marginalized, he centered the poor. And at a time like this, we need voices, especially voices of faith that use our faith not as a weapon to bring other people down, but as a bridge to bring us all together.”

In a statement Sunday, White House spokesman Andrew Bates expressed similar sentiments, while criticizing Trump for selling $60 Bibles and for his rhetoric over the Easter weekend.

“As a Christian who celebrates Easter with his family, President Biden stands for bringing people together and preserving the dignity and freedoms of every American,” Bates said. “Unfortunately, it is no surprise that politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful and dishonest rhetoric. President Biden will never use his faith for political purposes or to make a profit.”

Trump also posted an article on social media on Saturday that compared his legal troubles to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

In another social media post on Sunday, Trump invoked the holiday to claim without evidence that those prosecuting him are politically motivated.

On Friday, Trump shared on his social media an image of Biden with his hands and feet tied, the latest example of the Republican candidate’s use of increasingly violent images this campaign season.

Last week, Trump encouraged his supporters to buy his Bibles that included a handwritten chorus of “God Bless the USA” by singer and supporter Lee Greenwood. Trump licensed his name, image and likeness to sell the Bibles through CIC Ventures LLC, for which Trump serves as “manager, president, secretary and treasurer.”

The former president has sold other Trump-branded items since leaving office, including digital trading cards, cologne and $399 “Never Surrender” sneakers. Some of Trump’s efforts are designed to benefit his campaign, but most appear designed to enrich him personally at a time when he faces financial troubles amid his legal troubles.


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