Conservative author and commentator Ben Shapiro has denounced liberal attacks on Vice President Mike Pence's Christian beliefs, declaring that similar partisan attacks led to the rise of President Donald Trump.
In an interview on Fox News last Thursday, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire was asked his opinion of recent op-eds and comments made by TV hosts who claim that Pence's conservative Christian beliefs are dangerous.
"This is how you got Trump," responded Shapiro. "I sort of get tired of using that phrase, but this is legitimately how you got Trump. You say that Mitt Romney is the worst guy in the world, then before that, John McCain was the worst guy in the world."
"And then, it turns out, no matter how bad the Republican supposedly is, the next Republican will inevitably be even worse. Mike Pence will certainly [be] the worst person, a scarier person than Donald Trump. ... No matter how much they hate Trump, the next guy they'll hate just as much or more because he's the next guy."
Shapiro added that there's "a baseline level of hatred for Christians on the cultural left and it's most evident in New York and Los Angeles."
"There's this belief that everybody who deeply believes their faith is actually secretly a bigot. That the reason they are acting out their religion in public is not because they believe their religion, but because they're using their religion as a cover for bigotry," continued Shapiro. "Of course, none of that is true, but it does demonstrate the militant secularism of the left."
Shapiro's comments came in response to the release of a new book by journalists Michael D'Antonio and Peter Eisner titled The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence.
Released Tuesday, the book portrays Pence in a negative light, with the authors calling him "the most successful Christian supremacist in American history."
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni had a column published that was sympathetic to the book's claims, his opinion piece being titled "Mike Pence, Holy Terror."
"There are problems with impeaching Donald Trump. A big one is the holy terror waiting in the wings," wrote Bruni. "That would be Mike Pence, who mirrors the boss more than you realize. He's also self-infatuated. Also a bigot. Also a liar. Also cruel."
For the past few years, some have argued that the rise of Trump came in part because liberals constantly portrayed all Republicans and conservatives as bigots, thus making it harder to convince voters that Trump's rhetoric was demonstrably worse.
Known as the "crying wolf" theory and often championed by conservative pundits, some liberal commentators including HBO television personality Bill Maher felt obligated to apologize for their past treatment of GOP figures.
"I know liberals made a big mistake because we attacked your boy Bush like he was the end of the world. He wasn't," said Maher to former Bush speechwriter David Frum in a 2016 episode of his "Real Time" program.
"And Mitt Romney, we attacked that way. I gave Obama a million dollars, I was so afraid of Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wouldn't have changed my life that much, or yours. Or John McCain. ... They were honorable men who we disagreed with. And we should have kept it that way. So we cried wolf. And that was wrong."