Texas megachurch pastor and prominent Trump supporter Robert Jeffress has refuted reports suggesting that he declared former Vice President Joe Biden the president-elect.
“Don’t believe some false media reports that I have ‘broken’ with our great President @realDonaldTrump,” the conservative pastor of First Baptist Dallas wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. “I support him completely. We do NOT have a ‘president-elect’ until electoral college votes December 14.”
Jeffress, 64, made headlines this week after he wrote an op-ed for Fox News in which he said that even if the Democrat ends up winning the presidential election, the Bible commands Christians to “submit and pray” to government leaders even if they are not “our preferred candidate.”
While the media speculates about allegations of election fraud amid reports of fraudulent votes cast for the deceased, non-state residents casting ballots, and demands for recounts, Jeffress wrote in the op-ed that it “appears” Biden will “become the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20” unless Trump is successful in his “legal challenges to the counting of votes in several states.”
For his part, Trump said he won't concede the race until every legal vote is counted, but added that he will concede if Biden is declared the winner.
While Jeffress did not declare in his op-ed piece that Biden was “president-elect,” the headline that his op-ed was given on FoxNews.com reads: “Pastor Robert Jeffress: Biden is president-elect — how should Christians respond?”
Following the publication of his op-ed, other news outlets published their own articles about what Jeffress wrote in the op-ed. An ABC News headline read: “Pastor Robert Jeffress, staunch Trump evangelical supporter, calls Biden president-elect.” Another article published by the popular culture news website UPROXX features the headline: "Even Pro-Trump Evangelical Pastor Robert Jeffress Wants The President To Concede Already."
Similarly, an article by the Texas-based LGBT news website Dallas Voice on Monday featured a headline stating: "Jeffress jumps off Trump bandwagon."
After taking to Twitter to voice his objections to the media reports, a user on Twitter responded with a screenshot of the Fox News headline.
Jeffress responded: “Fox chose that title, not me.”
In his op-ed, Jeffress did state that “When Joe Biden becomes president,” Christians should “commend him for the things he does right” and “condemn the things he does wrong.”
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Jeffress assured that he is "not in any way calling this election" but added that a Biden victory is “the most likely outcome.”
Jeffress explained that after media outlets called Pennsylvania in favor of Biden last Saturday morning, Fox News asked him to write a piece on how Christians should respond to the election. Jeffress assured that the op-ed was not his way of saying that the election was decided.
“I’ve said publicly — I’ve said on Fox News — that I think the only way for us to have unity in our country is not only to respect the right of people to vote in an election, but the right to contest an election and President Trump has every right to contest this election," Jeffress was quoted as saying.
Jeffress was one of the first prominent conservative evangelical figures to start appearing at Trump rallies during the 2016 Republican presidential primary campaign at a time when many conservative evangelicals were unsure of the then-candidate and were split among more socially conservative options like Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Dr. Ben Carson.
Jeffress has also attended several events at the Trump White House along with other evangelicals leaders. Jeffress has also appeared as a contributor on Fox News and Fox Business where he's been vocal in his support for the Trump presidency.
In August, Jeffress suggested while on Fox Business that only evangelicals who have “sold their soul to the devil” will vote for Biden. Exit polls suggest that the percentage of white evangelicals who voted for Trump in 2020 (76%) fell by about 5 percentage points from the 2016 exit polls that showed that 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump.
The percentage of white evangelical voters who said they voted for Biden was 24%, up from 16% who said they voted for then-Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 exit polls.
If Biden does take control of the White House, Jeffress said in his Fox News op-ed that it will be “a chance to show that Christians are not hypocrites.”
“We serve a God who remains on His throne, sovereignly reigning over every square inch of this vast universe,” Jeffress said. “We serve a God who loves us and will never leave or forsake us. And now we have the chance to show the consistency and constancy/ of our Christian witness to this world.”