CNN Panel Melts Down When Conservative Brings Up Obama’s Cult of Personality

April 3rd, 2024 7:25 PM

Wednesday’s CNN This Morning twice devolved into hysterical bewilderment among the three liberals on-set when conservative strategist and former Tim Scott 2024 adviser Matt Gorman responded to the left’s pearl clutching around fervent support for Donald Trump by reminding them of the cult of personality that surrounded Barack Obama.

Host Kasie Hunt premised the discussion around a New York Times piece from reporter Michael Bender that claimed Trump supporters belong to the “Church of Trump” that views Trump as a deity and the repugnant smear of non-Democrat Christians by Tim Alberta in his finger-wagging book.



Gorman said he saw this whole take “a little bit different”, but Hunt tried to have him badmouth Republican voters by wondering what he made of “people view[ing] Trump as a seemingly — or treat him like a seemingly Christ-like figure when..the Bible specifically says, like, you’re not supposed to do that.”

Gorman then dropped the truth bomb: “But I will say this though, in a — in a secular sort of way, not in an evangelical directly away, you saw Obama treated like this.”

Having left a grimacing look of disgust from liberal Washington Post reporter Toluse Olorunnipa and liberal panelist Karen Finney mumbling in disagreement, Gorman further unspooled:

[Y]es, absolutely. Absolutely. There was a sort of — people — not an — not an evangelical, religious way...But, look, I will say this, when you are president of your party and you’re a leader of your party, there is among — a base where it is a social — it is a secular deification in a way. It is. Yes.

In contrast, Finney went the way Hunt wanted by repeatedly invoking Alberta’s book and arguing Trump’s “perverting the words of God” with his rhetoric in this campaign having turned “frightening” after, in 2016, merely running to appease “a cadre of voters who were afraid of a changing and brown people and immigrants”.

“Well, he has said in the past that has favorite Bible verse is an eye for an eye, which is firmly in the Old Testament, not the New,” Hunt replied.

The conversation then changed to a cockamamie narrative that, because there’s comparisons that have been made between Trump and Jesus, that Christian women will abandon Trump. 

Thankfully, Gorman wasn’t having any of this and lambasted Finney for this absurdity that, after having been on the political scene for nearly a decade, a whole block of voters will abandon Trump (click “expand”):

FINNEY: And you can see that they were — that — in the Iowa caucus we did see that that — the ad that we’ve played here before, that was likening the birth of Trump to the birth of Jesus — right — where he literally compared it —

HUNT: Right.

FINNEY: — there have been evangelicals who have said, Okay, that’s too far. And Tim Alberta, in his book, talks about how some in the evangelical movement have — had — are uncomfortable with this fusion and perversion of the teachings.

HUNT: Matt, do you agree?

GORMAN: No, because, look, like I —

FINNEY: Of course not. 

GORMAN: — look, I — no, no —

FINNEY: You’re a Republican. Why would you agree with me?

GORMAN: — of course not. But like — but I think the ad in the Republican primary, where there’s a trust among Republicans is a little different. When you get to a general election, that — that choice will fuse. I don’t think you’re going to see Biden evangelical votes in Iowa suddenly gaining steam here. Look, he’s not going to —

FINNEY: Yes, but I think they could not vote for him.

GORMAN: — he’s not going to lose — he’s not going to lose any votes off that. You know, I think it’s — that’s a winning issue for us?

HUNT: You don’t think he’s going to lose any votes off that?

GORMAN: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. That is a winning issue for him and press that advantage if you’re Trump.

FINNEY: So you think suburban women — let’s go back to them —


FINNEY: — are comfortable with Donald Trump comparing —

GORMAN: Those —

FINNEY: — no, no, no, let me finish — 


FINNEY: — are comfortable with him — literally saying, I’m your god. 

GORMAN: I want to meet those —

FINNEY: I don’t think so. Please show me those voters.

GORMAN: — those are suburban women who all of a sudden see that — that one thing, like, you know what, now I’m turned off. They — after almost a decade of this, that’s going to break it?

FINNEY: No, it’s not just that.


FINNEY: What that shows is someone who will do anything to win, who has no boundaries, who has no sense of decency, who has no sense of what’s appropriate, what’s not appropriate. He will do anything to win. If it means comparing himself to God, that’s what he’ll do[.]


GORMAN: [W]e’ve been having the same conversation for a decade. Like, again, we talk about meanness. This is the same sort of thing that Hillary Clinton talked about. I just suddenly wonder that, you know, suddenly, in the year 2024, after Donald Trump’s been on the — for — this for a decade that people are going to wake up and be like, you know what? Now he’s too mean. You know what? I was going to vote for him, but, you know what? That one thing, no. This thing is big. 

Hunt returned back to the cult of personality, granting it to Trump supporters because he’s “treated....totally different than other political candidates” but not for Obama because while “people got — were very excited about Obama, but — but it was secular and political”.

Spoken like a former Obama Zombie herself, Finney concurred the support for Obama “was hopeful” and what that warm fuzziness “said about the country, that maybe we had moved to a [better] place” whereas Trump’s movement has been “about grievance and retribution”.

Hunt called this “definitely objectively true” as “hope and change is not the same as” a movement of “grievance.”

Gorman closed with what should be a basic observation of history and politics that “popular presidents...always have a certain cult of personality around them” (and especially in their own parties), so no one should “act like this suddenly” is new with Trump voters.

Hunt had said Gorman would have the last word, but she took that back to defend Obama’s honor: “Yeah, but the shoot — you know, his — I could shoot people on Fifth Avenue and my base would still be with me. There is something about him that is different from Reagan and Obama.”

To see the relevant CNN transcript from April 3, click here.