Republican Rep. Compares Trump to Jesus During Impeachment Hearings: 'Pontius Pilate Afforded More Rights to Jesus'

A Republican congressman compared the impeachment process facing President Donald Trump to the trial of Jesus Christ that led to the latter's crucifixion.

Representative Barry Loudermilk, who represents Georgia's 11th Congressional District, made the remarks at 2:10 p.m. EST Wednesday, as the House of Representatives prepared to vote on whether to impeach the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Loudermilk claimed that Jesus, whom Christians believe was executed in the first century A.D. by the Roman Empire, was given more rights in his trial by Pontius Pilate, the imperial governor of Judea, than Congress has given to Trump.

"Before you take this historic vote today, one week before Christmas, I want you to keep this in mind," Loudermilk told his colleagues in the House. "When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers. During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded this president in this process."

Loudermilk's statement seemed to disregard the fact that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi extended an invitation to Trump to testify in the impeachment inquiry against him, and that Trump tweeted that he would "strongly consider" doing so back in November. Testifying would have afforded the president a chance to "face his accusers," but he ultimately did not do so.

The only sources for Jesus's trial and execution under Pilate, besides a very short passage from first-century Jewish writer Flavius Josephus, are the Gospels of the New Testament. In the narratives of each of those books, the trial is rather short, and resulted from a series of run-ins between Jesus, his disciples, Jewish leaders and Roman authorities.

In the Bible, Pilate finds no fault with Jesus, but commands that he be executed to appease the civilians whom Rome has appointed him to rule over.

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Loudermilk's comparison of Trump to Christ was mostly met with negative reactions on Twitter. Some said it was indicative of what they saw as Republicans' quasi-religious allegiance to the president.

"Republicans are engaging in willful misinformation, peddling Russian propaganda, and actually stooping to comparing Donald Trump to Jesus Christ, all to cover up blatant crimes," author Jared Yates Sexton tweeted. "This is beyond repugnant."

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"The only things DT has in common with JC is that they both hung out with hookers & used ghost writers," joked actor John Fugelsang, referring to the fact that the accounts of Jesus's life were written long after his life and that Trump employed a ghostwriter for his famous book, The Art of the Deal. Further, one of Jesus's most devoted followers in the Gospels was Mary Magdalene, traditionally depicted as a former sex worker, while Trump has been embroiled in two scandals involving pay offs for adult film stars with whom he was intimately involved.

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As of press time, the House impeachment vote was expected to take place around 7 p.m. EST.

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Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) speaks during the Elections Subcommittee field hearing on 'Voting Rights and Election Administration in Florida' at the Broward County Governmental Center on May 06, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. On Wednesday Loudermilk compared the impeachment inquiry into President Trump to Jesus' trial by Pontius Pilate. Joe Raedle/Getty
Republican Rep. Compares Trump to Jesus During Impeachment Hearings: 'Pontius Pilate Afforded More Rights to Jesus' | U.S.