Washington • This must be President Trump’s year of living biblically.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on a trip to the Holy Land during the Jewish holiday of Purim, offered his diplomatic view that God anointed Trump a modern-day Queen Esther, the Purim heroine from the biblical Book of Esther.
The Christian Broadcasting Network, recalling Esther's 2,500-year-old role in persuading the Persian king not to follow Haman's evil plan to eradicate the Jews, asked Pompeo: "Could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?"
"As a Christian, I certainly believe that's possible," replied Pompeo.
It's not clear that Trump would approve of the Esther comparison. He was reportedly displeased when a woman, Melissa McCarthy, portrayed his then-press secretary, Sean Spicer, on "Saturday Night Live." He therefore might not like being a queen — even a noble and beautiful one.
Luckily for Trump, Esther is just one of many biblical roles his aides have assigned him. A few days after Pompeo's Purim gambit, David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, declared that Trump is the answer to the biblical King David's prayer. The great psalmist "sought God's intervention" so that we "see the holiness, the beauty, the sanctity of life, and yes, the good in Jerusalem," Friedman told a gathering Tuesday. "I'd like to think that God has blessed the Trump administration in this very manner."
So Trump is both Queen Esther and the embodiment of King David’s vision? His cup runneth over. And there’s more.
Earlier this year, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders pronounced from the West Wing that God "wanted Donald Trump to become president, and that's why he's there." She appeared to be referring to a belief among some evangelical Christians that Trump is a modern-day Cyrus, a biblical pagan leader chosen by God. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year put Trump in the Cyrus category, saying both "will be remembered by our people throughout the ages."
As if all this didn’t put enough pressure on Trump, the Rev. Franklin Graham in 2016 placed Trump alongside the biblical Abraham, Moses and the apostles — forgiven sinners all. Arriving at the inevitable conclusion, a group calling itself “Make the Gospel Great Again” put up a St. Louis billboard that portrayed Trump as Jesus.
To recap, Trump is simultaneously Esther, Cyrus, David, Abraham, Moses, the apostles and Jesus. No wonder he gets irritable when people challenge his authority.
To some, it might seem far-fetched that Trump, who made Stormy Daniels a household name and "grab 'em by the p——" a household phrase, would merit such comparisons. But these days nothing is far-fetched. This week, a mild-mannered Utah Republican, Mike Lee, gave a speech on the Senate floor about Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor.
Therefore, let's not rule out other holy comparisons for Trump.
His efforts to increase oil production surely make him a modern-day Judah Maccabee, whose one-day supply of oil burned for eight days. The endless PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT from illegal hoax witch hunts that left Trump totally exonerated makes him a modern-day Job. His lavish mane naturally brings to mind Samson.
To be sure, Trump shows no sign that he has eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, nor hosted Wise Men, nor received the Ten Commandments. Still, Trump's tenure reminds many Americans of the plagues inflicted on Egypt. And his climate-change policy increases the need for a modern-day Noah.
Vice President Pence, too, has earned biblical placement by admirers. The Atlantic's McKay Coppins notes that Pence has "drawn comparisons to Daniel — who served a procession of godless rulers — and to Joseph of Egypt, the valiant servant of God who won the favor of an impetuous pharaoh known for throwing servants in prison when they offended him." Pence also has been likened to Mordechai, "who ascended to the right hand of a Persian king known for throwing lavish parties and discarding his wife after she refused to appear naked in front of his friends."
This checks out. If Pence is Mordechai, Trump is King Ahasuerus, the one who discarded his wife. Ahaseuerus chose his next wife, Esther, in a beauty pageant, which also sounds Trumpian. This remake of the Book of Esther ends happily when Esther (played by Melania Trump) and Mordechai (Pence) persuade Ahaseuerus (Donald Trump) to send the evil Haman (Robert Mueller) to the gallows.
Yes, this works much better than Pompeo's Purim prophesy. Sure, Trump may be Abraham, Moses and Jesus all rolled into one, but God knows he'd make a lousy Esther.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.