GOP's war on "leftist" Pope Francis rages on: Kim Davis meeting isn't mollifying the hard right

After news of Francis's meeting with Kim Davis broke, GOP rep still fundraises off his boycott of Pope's speech

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published October 1, 2015 3:05PM (EDT)

Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, the self-described "proud Catholic" who boasted about boycotting Pope Francis's historic address to Congress last week, is now fundraising off his political stunt.

The Washington Post got a copy of Gosar's email appeal for campaign cash to "help me fend off the liberal sharks who are out for my blood," sent to supporters on Wednesday ahead of the third quarter fundraising deadline. Citing the backlash to his decision to be the lone member of Congress to boycott the historic papal visit, the Arizona Republican somehow contorted his fundraising pitch into an attack on the "Obama political machine":

If I can show that I raised $25,000 more by the end of September... I will show the liberals, the left-wing media and the Obama political machine that I am a force to be reckoned with and will continue to take principled stands.

However, should I fail to do so... the liberal sharks will smell blood in the water and try to use my principled boycott against me. Please do not allow that to happen.

Gosar blamed the "liberal media" for "reinforcing an almost rockstar-like status never before seen for the leader of the Catholic Church," during Francis's tour of the East Coast last week and chastised the Pope for ignoring abortion in favor of "left-wing pseudo-science of 'global warming.'"

I believe when a Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one. I need conservatives like you in my corner as I come under unprecedented attacks for taking this principled stand

Gosar also got a little conspiratorial during his appeal, questioning Francis's popularity amongst Democrats. "This from the left, who generally ridicule religion," he wrote. "So it begs the question as to why they have never before embraced a Pope in this fashion."

A recent Gallup poll shows the pontiff enjoys high favorability ratings from both moderate and liberal Americans, with only conservatives exhibiting a sharp drop off in their support -- from 72 percent in 2014 to 45 percent in 2015.

Gosar, however, appears to be pleased with at least one thing Pope Francis did during his stop in the U.S.. Gosar told the Post that he was happy to hear of the Pope's secret meeting with the Kentucky clerk who refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses, Kim Davis, although he again took the opportunity to chide Francis for failing to talk about abortion before Congress.

I wish he would have talked about those issues in Hell's gate, right here ...  You look at the fetal baby part trade here with Planned Parenthood; you look at religious freedom. He couldn't address that here? Sometimes events create a person, and sometimes somebody creates those events. This was one where the timetable, the place, really could have emphasized these issues. There was a missed opportunity.

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By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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