A leading conservative critic of Donald Trump was among the first to defend the Republican National Committee against charges it had crowned the president-elect king or compared him to Jesus Christ on Christmas.

It was easy to miss over the holidays and has since been superseded by several other social media flaps. But Twitter erupted in response to an RNC Christmas message that included the line “[j]ust as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.” Incoming White House spokesman Sean Spicer reacted incredulously.

David French posted his own reactions to what he called “this strange little controversy” within hours of it taking the Web by storm.

“First, are these folks really so ignorant of Christian language and customs that they don’t understand that the ‘new King’ is Christ?” French asked. “I’ve heard that phrase countless times. ‘King’ is capitalized for crying out loud — a clear reference to the divine.”

French isn’t some religious conservative apologist for President-elect Trump. He was such an ardent critic of the New York businessman that he was briefly recruited to be Never Trump’s independent conservative candidate for president in opposition to the Republican nominee, a position eventually filled by Evan McMullin. Anti-Trump conservatives were especially upset about the closeness between Trump and the RNC, even after he clinched the nomination.

In previous posts, French called on “honest conservatives” to oppose Trump as much as outgoing President Obama, urged the president-elect to stop attacking ordinary citizens and reported on the racist invective he had encountered since publicly criticizing Trump.

“Compared to the vast majority of the controversies of 2016, this little Twitter dustup is small change, but I’m afraid it’s indicative of the kind of leftist discourse we’ll see in the Trump years,” French wrote on Christmas. “Everything will be suspect. There will be no sense of proportion. The outrage meter will always be on — and dialed to the highest sensitivity.”

It may also be indicative of what happens to social conservatives with serious misgivings about the president during the Trump years — they will often be forced to defend him anyway against cultural liberals who are unrelentingly hostile and have little real acquaintance with traditional religious beliefs.

French wasn’t alone Sunday and he might not be alone going forward. CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers tweeted out a story about the Trump Christmas freakout with the comment, “Today in ‘religious illiteracy in the media.’ Merry Christmas!”

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Powers is a politically liberal Catholic who occasionally clashes with the left on some social and religious issues. Before joining CNN, she was a regular Democratic voice on Fox News. But she is no Trump fan. Her pinned tweet reads, “Dear Twitter people who keep saying ‘all men’ talk about sexually assaulting women in private: you need to get new friends.”

This message was posted on Oct. 9, as the controversy raged over the “Access Hollywood” tape containing Trump’s lewd comments about women and his sexually aggressive nature. Powers was a dogged Trump detractor when that story broke and threatened his presidential candidacy.

“If the Left wants everyone but their base to tune them out, I can think of no better way” than to react in an over the top fashion to things like the RNC Christmas message.

Among those tuning out the left might be social conservatives who share many of their concerns about Trump.

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