‘They’re all hustlers’: Trump mocks his religious supporters behind their backs
President Donald Trump is at the center of controversy following the release of a report detailing his alleged remarks about evangelical Christian leaders and supporters of the faith.
A report published by The Atlantic alleges that although Trump appeals to right-wing evangelicals leaders, megachurch leaders, and their Christian supporters, he has mocked many of them behind closed doors.
The article began with an excerpt from his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen's memoir "Disloyal" where he recounted a 2015 meeting with Trump.
At the time, Trump had been reading a report about Atlanta megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar. The prominent pastor, whom Trump personally knew, had recently petitioned his congregation for a $60 million private jet. Trump allegedly described the Dollar's request as a "scam" and said the pastor was "full of s***."
"They're all hustlers," Trump surmised.
On multiple other occasions, Trump also alluded to the same conclusion. In fact, after one meeting with religious leaders who laid hands on him during a group prayer, Trump allegedly said, "Can you believe that bulls**t? Can you believe people believe that bulls**t?'"
Despite his alleged antics behind closed doors, evangelical Christians are seen as devout supporters of Trump and twice as likely to describe the president as a "religious man," according to Pew Research.
Trump has even presented himself as the president advocating in the best interest of faith-based leaders.
President Trump demands governors reopen churches, synagogues and mosques 'right now' www.youtube.com
However, former members of the Trump Organization previously argued otherwise often alluding to instances similar to Cohen's recount.
"To those who have known and worked with Trump closely, the notion that he might have a secret spiritual side is laughable. 'I always assumed he was an atheist,' Barbara Res, a former executive at the Trump Organization, told me. 'He's not a religious guy,' A. J. Delgado, who worked on his 2016 campaign, told me. "Whenever I see a picture of him standing in a group of pastors, all of their hands on him, I see a thought bubble [with] the words 'What suckers,'" Mary Trump, the president's niece, told me."
Despite the criticism, the White House has responded in Trump's defense saying, "people of faith know that President Trump is a champion for religious liberty and the sanctity of life, and he has taken strong actions to support them and protect their freedom to worship. The president is also well known for joking and his terrific sense of humor, which he shares with people of all faiths."
Even if solid evidence were presented to evangelical Christians, Greg Thornbury, former president at the evangelical King University, who was pursued by Trump's campaign in 2016, insists they would not believe the allegations.
Thornbury said, "I don't think for a moment that they would believe he's cynical about them."