President Trump touted his support from
evangelical Christians and his friendly relationship with Russian
President Vladimir Putin in an interview with Pat Robertson on the
Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The 700 Club.”
The president also continued to strike at his Democratic opponent in
last year’s presidential campaign, insisting Putin would have preferred
a Hillary Clinton presidency.
“There are many things that I do that are the exact opposite of what he
(Putin) would want,” Trump told Robertson, the 87-year-old host of “The
“I keep hearing about that he would have rather had Trump. I think
probably not because when I want a strong military, you know, she
(Clinton) wouldn’t have spent the money on military. When I want a
strong military, when I want tremendous energy, we’re opening up coal,
we’re opening up natural gas, we’re opening up fracking, all the things
that he would hate, but nobody ever mentions that.”
Still, the president said, he and Putin “get along very well, and I
think that’s a good thing. That’s not a bad thing.”
“People said, ‘Oh, they shouldn’t get
along.’ Well, who are the people that are saying that? I think we get
along very, very well. We are a tremendously powerful nuclear power, and
so are they. It doesn’t make sense not to have some kind of a
Trump sat for the interview with Robertson, himself a former Republican
presidential candidate, on Wednesday (July 12) at the White House.
That was two days after the president gathered evangelical Christian
leaders around him to pray in the Oval Office. The leaders were in
Washington, D.C., to attend a daylong meeting organized by the White
House Office of Public Liaison.
The interview also comes as new evidence of possible collusion with
Russia to influence the 2016 election was released, including a series
of emails by the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
Robertson did not ask the president about the Russia investigation,
though he seemed to reference it afterward, saying, “I dealt with so
many issues in that interview and we didn’t once talk about all that
garbage because the American people don’t care about it.”
The conversation between Trump and Robertson aired in its entirety on
Thursday’s episode of “The 700 Club” on CBN, a channel Trump has turned
a spotlight on as president that, like Fox News, is viewed as friendly
“As long as my people understand. That’s why I do interviews with you,
you have a tremendous audience. You have people that I love —
evangelicals and sometimes you say ‘the evangelical Christians,'” Trump
The president previously had given CBN News his third one-on-one
interview in office, and Robertson, who founded the network in 1961, has
been a vocal supporter of Trump.
The host pointed to Trump’s support from evangelical Christians, noting
many had voted for him and “thousands and thousands” were praying for
In return, the president said, “we’ve really helped because I’ve gotten
rid of the Johnson Amendment.”
“Now they’re going to be able to speak, and that’s a great thing for
Christianity, believe me — a great, great thing — and it’s a great thing
for religion,” he said.
Under the Johnson Amendment, churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations
can lose their nonprofit status for endorsing political candidates or
participating in political campaigns. It has been enforced only a
handful of times, and Trump noted during the interview he first learned
who the Rev. Robert Jeffress was because the First Baptist Dallas pastor
was “always speaking so well of me” on TV.
A presidential executive order issued on May 4 advises the IRS not to
enforce the Johnson Amendment. To make it permanent, Trump added during
the interview, Congress would have to repeal the amendment.
Robertson also asked the president about two things he said were
important to Americans: cutting taxes and repealing and replacing the
Affordable Care Act, referring to the latter as “iniquitous.”
Asked what would happen if efforts to get rid of the ACA, popularly
known as “Obamacare,” fail, Trump answered he “will be very angry about
Courtesy: Religion News Service
Photo:President Trump talks with the Rev. Pat Robertson during an
interview for “The 700 Club” on the Christian Broadcasting Network.