Paula White on Donald Trump's Christian Faith (Exclusive Interview)
CP: Can you share a story about Mr. Trump that most people don't yet know that reflects his character?
White: I wish that everyone could have the privilege of meeting Donald Trump one on one. They would find him to be so different from the caricature being painted of him in the press.
The Trump I know is extremely giving, charitable and doesn't seek the credit for the numerous acts of kindness he does. I wish everyone could know the Trump whose children praise him and see their personal interaction as a family. I wish everyone could know the Trump who prays and asks for prayer or the Trump who came from a strong spiritual heritage or the Trump who I once watched go far out of his way to an entry level worker who was raking a sand trap on one of his properties just to thank him, acknowledge his work and to shake his hand. He's a good man, and there are far more stories than I have time to tell.
CP: Why should Christians trust Mr. Trump?
White: Let me tell you a story that no one knows. Right after the gathering in New York with 1,000 evangelicals, Mr. Trump called me.
He said, "Paula, they know I will fight for them, right?"
Some people embrace this idea that we have to trust him because he's better than the alternative. Well, I don't believe that's true. I think we CAN legitimately trust him.
Mr. Trump has been building relationships with our community for years, far before he was running for president. He attended Billy Graham's 90th birthday party. He spoke at Liberty University first many years ago. He not only called me up after watching my program on Christian television, he also showed up at a rally at Madison Square Garden where Dr. David Jeremiah was ministering. He came and sat on the front row, for the entire service. He has attended many such services from the smallest of churches to the largest of crusades.
I don't know how to convince someone to trust anybody in these cynical times, but it would be appropriate to ask those who joined me in meeting with him at Trump Tower on June 21. They all left saying they trust him, and these are all leaders in the Evangelical community who are admired and trusted themselves.
CP: Why do you support Donald Trump for president?
White: I know Donald Trump. I know the strong leader he is. I know how capable of a businessman he is. I know how compassionate he is. I know how smart he is. I know how he defends our values and the people whom he loves. I know how much he loves this country. I know how much he loves his children and how they admire and respect him.
He didn't have to run for President. He did it because he loves America and he wants our future to be bright, and he's willing to fight for that. He's willing to sacrifice for it too. Despite constant attacks in the press and constant attempts to malign his character, countless phrases being taken out of context, and the loss of so much …. he has decided it's worth it.
Just this week, my son and daughter-in-law gave birth to a beautiful little girl. We wept while we stood there and looked into the innocent eyes of that amazing little child, but I have to tell you … that little girl might not know an America as safe, prosperous and hopeful if something doesn't drastically change.
The next president will appoint between two and four Supreme Court justices, and that decision will preserve our country's values or it will fundamentally change America. This election is consequential. We need a strong leader. I believe I can trust my grandchild's future to the leadership of the man I know, Donald Trump.
CP: If Mr. Trump is elected in November, is your name on the short list of pastors from which one will be selected to give the presidential inauguration prayer in January 2017?
White: I don't know and, frankly, I don't care. The prayers I'm more interested in are prayers that are private, not public.
CP: You've been described as a "prosperity gospel preacher." Your thoughts?
White: I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. I believe Jesus is the son of God who died for the sins of the entire world. I believe Jesus rose again on the third day. I believe in the virgin birth and the second coming. I preach salvation by grace through faith alone. I preach for the repentance of sin.
I do not believe in the "prosperity Gospel" as I've been accused of believing it. I do believe that all good things come from God, and I also believe that God teaches us so much through our suffering.
Listen to 100 of my sermons, and 80 or 90 of them will be about overcoming our struggles and the lessons God teaches us in valleys he allows us to enter. My life has not been an easy one, from my childhood, and at times, in my adulthood.
I'm 50 now, and a grandmother, so there are, of course, things my 50 year old self wouldn't have done at 25. Thankfully, God gives us so much grace and allows us to learn so much through our trials. He's also allowed me to bring millions of people along through my personal experiences, trials and, sometimes, pain.
I have been accused of so many things that are so untrue. Some of those accusations persist despite their being entirely false, but I'll just continue preaching the Gospel.
It all reminds me of an adage that Jerry Falwell, whom I had the privilege of joining in a private meeting of 20 Christian leaders in Mitt Romney's home a few years ago, used to say: "never defend yourself, your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe it."
You know what? It's all worth it if some struggling person looks at my story and finds hope in Jesus Christ to go on another day. I'll take all the friendly fire required to lead one more person to Jesus. We've received grace, and I believe we ought to give much grace.