Pastor Robert Jeffress is praising President-elect Donald Trump for his decision not to prosecute defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for keeping classified national security information on her unsecured home server, while at the same time advising Trump supporters not to gloat over the Thanksgiving table.
Jeffress, who leads the First Baptist Church in Dallas, spoke with FOX Business host Stuart Varney on Wednesday to discuss Trump's comments at a meeting with reporters on Tuesday, when Trump said that Clinton had "suffered greatly" over the course of the election.
"I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't," Trump said when pressed about whether his administration will prosecute Clinton over her decision to use a private server while secretary of state. He added that the idea is "just not something I feel very strongly about."
CNN called it a "stunning departure from the campaign rhetoric" and claimed that Trump's comments will "come as a shock to some of the president-elect's most ardent supporters," given the Republican's repeated warnings that he will go after Clinton on this issue.
"If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation," Trump directly told Clinton at the second presidential debate in October.
Jeffress told Varney that despite the government's responsibility to execute justice, he believes that Trump is making the "right decision" in choosing to "forgive" Clinton.
"At the end, voters are going to judge President-elect Trump by three criteria: has he made them safer, freer, and richer. And going after Clinton is not going to accomplish any of those goals," the megachurch pastor said.
"It will paralyze Washington for four more years," he warned. "I think everyone ought to applaud President-elect Trump on making that decision."
As for family squabbles over the Thanksgiving holiday, Jeffress suggested that it's "unrealistic" to impose a non-politics ban over the dinner table.
"I think it's more important how we talk about it. The Bible says that we ought to talk in a way that edifies, encourages other people, rather than tears them down," he said.
He advised Americans not to gloat or mope, regardless if their candidate won or lost.
"If you are a Trump supporter, like me, instead of gloating about his win, point out the positive things to those doubters we have already seen: his inclusiveness, his measured tone."
Jeffress added: "And to those who oppose Trump: instead of being bitter, and gloom and doom, why not commit to praying for the president-elect that he would follow God's leadership in his life."
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrated in font of Jeffress' church after the election to protest the church's biblical beliefs on homosexuality and Jeffress' personal support for Trump.
The organizer of the protest, Dominique Alexander, labeled the church "the mecca of the hate that lives inside Dallas." Alexander has a previous conviction of causing harm to a child and served time in jail for his crime.
The protesters had promised to return, but Jeffress told Varney that only five people came out at the last protest, and chose to go for coffee instead.
"I would say that's fizzled out," the pastor said.