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People Are Arguing About Whether Republicans Just Compared Trump To Jesus

A Republican spokesman said Christians view only Jesus as king and to ask otherwise was "frankly offensive."

Posted on December 25, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. ET

On Sunday, Republican National Committee chairman (and incoming White House chief of staff) Reince Priebus released a message to celebrate Christmas.

John Locher / AP

You can read the full statement here, but there's one part that has left a lot of people scratching their heads:

Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.

The combination of the words "this Christmas" and "a new King" had people wondering whether the GOP was comparing Donald Trump to, well, Jesus.

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

"Are you insane?" people asked.

Hey @GOP and @Reince, a new #king? Are you insane?

So the RNC thinks Trump is our New King? Coming again as Jesus did? This is getting really spooking. What kind of K…

"The distinction between a president and a king is not trivial," wrote this New York magazine writer.

The distinction between a president and a king is not trivial

"#KEOTUS," this Politico reporter joked, in a riff on the acronym for president-elect of the United States (PEOTUS).

.@Reince: 'Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King' #KEOTUS

Even John Weaver, a top aide to Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich, was weirded out.

Dear RNC: We don't have a "new King." What the hell is wrong with you people? #TwoPaths #Vigilance

Some demanded the GOP apologize...

@reince & @rnc should apologize for using Christmas to compare @realDonaldTrump to Jesus & calling him a "new king"…

But others thought the statement was being misrepresented and that Priebus was referring to Jesus when he used the words "new King."

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

New King 👏 is 👏 referring 👏 to 👏 Jesus👏 please 👏 stop 👏 this 👏 nonsense.

The king referenced here is Jesus.

Way too clever. Innocent error, poor writing. But had the Dems done it, the outrage would be thermonuclear and last…

No matter which "new King" #GOP meant in its Xmas massage, after 8 years I've had quite enough of POTUS-as-godlike-cult-leader, thanks.

For the purposes of comparison, here's what Priebus said last year: (He didn't use the words "new King")

Each Christmas brings a chance to rejoice at the humble birth of the Child who brings a new hope. Over two thousand years ago in Bethlehem a Savior was born whose message is love and peace. As we gather with friends and loved ones, I want to wish a very Merry Christmas to all those who are celebrating.

We also remember those who are suffering at this time of the year. Whether lonely, hurting, or struggling to make ends meet, all human beings need comfort as they endure hardship. Let us continue to embrace the charity and good will toward men that our Lord calls us to, and love our neighbors in need.

When asked if the comparison was intentional, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told BuzzFeed News the question was "offensive."

"I hope you are kidding," he said in an email. "Christ is the King in the Christian faith. To ask this on Christmas is frankly offensive."

  1. So, what do you think?

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So, what do you think?
    vote votes
    The GOP just decided to compare Trump to Jesus.
    vote votes
    It's poor phrasing, but the statement unintentionally compared Trump to Jesus.
    vote votes
    They clearly meant Jesus. Stop this madness.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.