“On the religious situation with Amy, I thought we settled this 60 years ago with the election of John F. Kennedy,” Mr. Trump said. “Seriously, they’re going after her Catholicism.” Without evidence, the president then accused Democrats of “basically fighting a major religion in our country.”
In a Trump campaign call with top Catholic allies on Sunday evening, Justin Clark, the deputy campaign manager, said that “the new radical left has embraced the hateful and destructive tendencies of the anti-Catholicism of the past.” He added that “instead of terrorist organizations like the K.K.K., we have a woke clan” launching anti-Catholic attacks. And he made clear the campaign’s message to Catholic voters in the final days of the race: “our faith as Catholics is under attack.”
So far, at least, attacks on Judge Barrett’s Catholicism are not coming from top Democrats, or the party’s nominee. What is striking is that Mr. Trump, a man who spends Sunday mornings at the golf course and is not known as a person of faith, is passing harsh judgment on some Catholics (like Mr. Biden) while in the next breath saying that such harsh judgments are wrong (at least when it comes to Judge Barrett).
In an interview, Gov. Phil Murphy, Democrat of New Jersey, called Mr. Trump’s tactic “the faith version of the Merrick Garland hypocrisy” — in other words, an example of the president doing to his political opponent exactly what he claims is unacceptable if it is done to him, or anyone he views as politically helpful to him. He was referring to President Barack Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee, whom Senate Republicans refused to consider because, they said, it was a presidential election year.
Mr. Murphy, a Catholic, said the weight of the debate about Judge Barrett’s confirmation “should be on her positions on health care, choice and environmental protections,” and not focused on her faith. But he added, “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t corner the guy and question his faith and then say on the other side of your mouth that someone’s faith is off limits.”