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Trump touts support from evangelicals, Putin friendship in Robertson interview

President Trump talks with the Rev. Pat Robertson during an interview for “The 700 Club” on the Christian Broadcasting Network. Photo courtesy of CBN

(RNS) — 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.


RELATED: Amid controversy, Trump sits down with Pat Robertson for interview


“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 700 Club.

“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 relationship.”

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 to him.

“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 told Robertson.

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.

President Trump and the Rev. Pat Robertson pose for a photo after their interview for “The 700 Club” on CBN. Photo courtesy of CBN

The host pointed to Trump’s support from evangelical Christians, noting many had voted for him and “thousands and thousands” were praying for him.

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 it.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

9 Comments

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  • “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.'”

    Somehow, “… can we all get along?” just doesn’t sound that good when it’s with a murderous dictator and his useful idiot.

  • It is hard to determine which of these two is the worst, the prevaricating misogynist sleazy unformed ignorant inept narcissistic Awful Oaf in the Offal Office or the pseudo-Christian crackpot religious-liberty-undermining loudmouth talk show host. Our country would be better off if both drifted off into the sunset.

  • “I dealt with so many issues in that interview and we didn’t once talk about that garbage because the American people don’t care about it”.

    Fake news.

  • I thought 2Rump never met Puto before last week. Now they are great friends. Hard to tell what the truth is.

  • Yes. that would be a good idea. But I don’t think that the good Lord would let them do that. Both ultimately will have to face their Maker. Sad to say, I am not too optimistic that they will be with those who fall under the Sheep in the Parable of Jesus in Matthew 25: 31-46.

  • They both seem so phony! When I watch this it makes one believe there is no God. How could God watch this without cringing of the misconceptions and untruths.

  • “Well, who are the people that are saying that” Trump and Putin “shouldn’t get along”? It’s great when he telegraphs how clueless he is, like later in the interview when he admits that his advisers told him “Now, sometimes ‘evangelicals’ is used, sometimes ‘evangelical Christians’, they mean the same thing, okay?”
    NO ONE I’ve heard is saying that Trump and Putin shouldn’t get along. For the sake of the world we should have good relations. That doesn’t mean the American people are going to turn a blind eye to your campaign’s collusion with the KGB to influence the election in your favor.

  • These two men some of the most horrible human beings. They are criminals in the eyes of God and will burn in hell. Robertson’s sin at this point is far greater. He has preached a false Christianity. He will burn.

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