Texas megachurch pastor and longtime Trump supporter Robert Jeffress stated that the president does not have a “messiah complex."
President Donald Trump garnered controversy when, during a press conference on Wednesday that included a question about trade negotiations with China, he called himself “the chosen one.”
“I am the chosen one,” stated Trump, who then pointed upwards. “Somebody had to do it. So I’m taking on China. I’m taking on China on trade. And you know what? We’re winning.”
“I was put here by people to do a great job. And that’s what I’m doing. And nobody has done a job like I’ve done.”
Earlier the same day, Trump retweeted a comment by conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root, comparing the president to the “King of Israel” and “the Second Coming.”
Jeffress, however, told conservative commentator Todd Starnes on an episode of “The Todd Starnes Show” that he did not believe Trump considered himself a messiah.
“As a friend of President Trump’s, I can assure your audience he does not have a messiah complex. He does not see himself as the messiah,” Jeffress told Starnes, the Texas pastor laughing at the allegation.
“But he did run on the principle in 2016 that he would be a great defender of Israel and no president has been more pro-Israel than Donald Trump.”
Jeffress also claimed that Trump is so popular in Israel, that when Jeffress is in Jerusalem people tell him that they “love” the president and even go as far as to call Trump “our president.”
Since he announced his presidential campaign in 2015, some Trump-supporting evangelical leaders have claimed that Trump was chosen by God to become president.
Florida televangelist Paula White garnered headlines in 2017 when she said on an episode of “The Jim Bakker Show” that Trump was “raised up by God.”
“It is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down. When you fight against the plan of God, you are fighting against the hand of God,” she stated on the program.
However, in September 2017 at a Religion News Association conference panel, White clarified that she believed all leaders, including former President Barack Obama, were anointed by God.
“I don't believe that just for President Trump. I would believe that for President Obama, I would believe that had Hillary been in,” said White at the time.
“I understand that I don't understand all things and what those purposes are. He's a sovereign God. Do I believe that He uses us as people? Yes.”
Others, including progressive evangelical activist Shane Claiborne, blame the recent messianic-sounding rhetoric by Trump on his conservative evangelical supporters.
“When @Franklin_Graham & others said that God intervened in the last election to help Trump become President, they helped create his Messiah complex,” tweeted Claiborne on Wednesday.
“This is some straight up first-century-Emperor-worship happening. Rebuke it, in the name of Jesus! Jesus is Lord, Trump is not.”