Paula White speaks at her church, New Destiny Christian Center, on Jan. 1, 2017, in Apopka, Fla. RNS photo by Sarah M. Brown

Trump spiritual adviser Paula White says he is ‘raised up by God’

(RNS) — Paula White, pastor of an evangelical megachurch and one of President Trump's spiritual advisers, said on television that the president is "authentically raised up by God."

Her comments, made during a Tuesday (Aug. 22) cable broadcast of the PTL Network's "The Jim Bakker Show," came a day after the president, acting on advice from his war cabinet, said the U.S. will not only remain in Afghanistan but will up its military presence there.

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White heads New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla., and has been at the president's side for the rollout of several new initiatives. She likened Trump's election to the biblical story of Esther and how she — an unlikely candidate for queen — became a revered one.

"They say about our president, 'Well, he is not presidential.' Thank goodness. Thank goodness. Thank goodness," White said. "And I mean that with all due respect. Because in other words, he is not a polished politician. In other words, he is authentically — whether people like it or not — has been raised up by God."

Paula White, right, stands behind President Trump as he talks with evangelical supporters in the Oval Office at the White House. Photo courtesy of Johnnie Moore

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"Because God says that he raises up and places all people in places of authority," she continued. "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."

Both the pushback and the support were immediate. Many were upset White seemed to compare Trump to a king.

"(S)he basically said (T)rump is a king," a woman named P. Berman tweeted. "(P)eople like her are dangerous, willing to support anyone to further their (C)hristian agenda."

But on Facebook, some messages were more upbeat.

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"It was a great great show today!!," commenter Tracy Noor wrote in a posting about White's appearance. "I was so impressed!!! God really touched my heart with the message."