Biden has described himself as a “practicing Catholic,” and is just the second Catholic president after JFK. But that didn’t stop the GOP front-runner from launching dubious allegations at his probable adversary in the 2024 election.
“Catholics in particular are being targeted and evangelicals are surely on the watch list as well. Over the past three years, the Biden administration has sent SWAT teams to arrest pro-life activists. The FBI has been caught profiling devout Catholics as possible domestic terrorists and planning to send undercover spies into Catholic churches, just like in the old days of the Soviet Union.”
A leaked FBI memo titled “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities” was interpreted by some conservatives to mean that the Justice Department was generally targeting Catholics as domestic terrorists. Attorney General Merrick Garland called the accusation “outrageous” and said he was appalled by the memo. “Any characterization that the FBI is targeting Catholics is false,” the bureau said to Newsweek on Friday.
As for arrests of pro-life activists that Trump referred to, he may have been referring to action against alleged extremists that conservatives seemed to spin into a false narrative about a war against the religious right, as HuffPost reported in 2022.
One of the suspects, Mark Houck, was acquitted of federal charges in January 2023.
In his new video plea, Trump also urged Catholics not to vote for Biden or any other Democrat and promised to form a task force against “anti-Christian bias.” The task force would also “look at government agencies, universities, and major corporations that have adopted anti-Christian diversity, equity and inclusion programs.”
In comments made in 2021 nearly a year after his 2020 defeat to Biden, Trump complained about losing ungrateful Catholic supporters for that election. “I did a lot for the Catholics. I’m a little bit surprised that we didn’t do better with the Catholic vote,” Trump said. He added at one point he was “very optimistic that we’re going to be back.”