Election 2016

Pat Robertson Welcomes Trump, Using Bankruptcies and Gambling Hall as Evidence of Greatness

Robertson warned Las Vegas bookies, "If you bet against Donald Trump, you’re gonna lose your shirt."

Photo Credit: screen shot / livestream

The Rev. Pat Robertson, ever thinking himself a kingmaker, welcomed Donald Trump's supporters to his Regent University on Saturday with his personal story of meeting the Republican standard-bearer. Trump came to Virginia Beach for a campaign rally at the school founded by the right-wing television preacher who blames most of society's ills on feminists and LGBT people, an event that also featured speeches by Ralph Reed—who learned much of his craft running Robertson's Christian Coalition, back when that was a thing—and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Robertson’s Trumpian parable included several key elements: a boxing match, Trump’s bankruptcies and a warning to Las Vegas bookies.

It should be noted that evangelicals generally eschew gambling, and even think it evil. But a significant part of the evangelical storytelling catalog also includes the comeback story, used as evidence by Robertson of a kind of anointing.

In his anecdote, Robertson tells of being invited by a boxing trainer to pray with Evander Holyfield before a bout in Atlantic City. (Robertson claims it happened at Trump’s Taj Mahal casino, but it’s likely he’s talking about the Holyfield v. Foreman match that Trump produced in April 1991 at the city’s Boardwalk Hall.)

After praying with Holyfield in the warmup room, Robertson said, “they escorted me down to ringside, and there was a young entrepreneur whose name was Trump….He, by the way, was facing bankruptcy, the banks were closing in on him. It looked like he was going to lose his shirt, and he says, 'Preacher, don't count me out. I'm coming back, I'm going to be great again.'"

The punchline: “And, you know, he's gone from bankruptcy to $10 billion, so that's not too shabby.”

He then offered a prophesy for the benefit of wagerers: “But I'll tell you this, in closing, I want to give a warning to the bookies in Vegas. If you bet against Donald Trump, you’re gonna lose your shirt.”

A transcript of Robertson’s remarks appears under the video, below.

TRANSCRIPT, REV. PAT ROBERTSON, REGENT UNIVERSITY, VIRGINIA BEACH, OCT. 22, 2016

On behalf of Regent University, I want to welcome you and Donald Trump and the Trump team to this plaza for Regent University this glorious day. And you know, a few years ago, we had something called the Road to Victory, and I wonder if today is another one of them. I hope. 

I want to tell you a real quick story, then I'm going to get off the platform. About 25 years ago, I had the privilege of meeting a prize-fight trainer and manager whose name was Lou Duva. And Lou had a guy named Evander Holyfield that he was training. And he said to me, I'm taking Evander up to New Jersey to something called the Trump—Trump Mahal—Trump Taz—whatever they called it. Anyhow, and he said, 'Would you like to come along and pray for Evander?' And I said, 'Sure, I'd be glad to, because I used to box, and I like that. So, I got up there to that magnificent structure, and I went behind the scenes into the training room where Evander was warming up, and we prayed together. Then they escorted me down to ringside, and there was a young entrepreneur whose name was Trump. And he said— He, by the way, was facing bankruptcy, the banks were closing in on him. It looked like he was going to lose his shirt, and he says, 'Preacher, don't count me out. I'm coming back, I'm going to be great again.' 

And, you know, he's gone from bankruptcy to $10 billion, so that's not too shabby. 

But I'll tell you this, in closing, I want to give a warning to the bookies in Vegas. If you bet against Donald Trump, you’re gonna lose your shirt.

Adele M. Stan is a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.

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