Donald Trump, who was elected to office based on strong evangelical support and to this day continues to enjoy high favorability ratings among the group, privately mock their leaders calling them “hustlers” and views their followers with contempt.
Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former fixer told The Atlantic that Trump made the comments while reading an article about Atlanta based megachurch pastor, Creflo Dollar, who was trying to raise money from his followers to buy a private jet. Trump appeared excited by the “scam” and reportedly told Cohen that the pastor was “full of shit.”
“They’re all hustlers,” Trump said.
In public, Trump praised these same evangelical leaders and declare himself to be God’s chosen to fulfill their Christian agenda. He vowed to never stop fighting for Americans of faith and further earned their respect by stacking the federal court system with far right Christian conservative judges.
In private it’s a whole other thing, former aides told The Atlantic that from the start of his political career, Trump saw evangelical leaders “as a kind of special-interest group to be schmoozed, conned, or bought off.”
“His view was ‘I’ve been talking to these people for years; I’ve let them stay at my hotels—they’re gonna endorse me. I played the game,’” a former campaign adviser told the magazine.
Reached for comment the White House said:
“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.”
Trump support among white evangelicals remains strong and they are twice as likely to say Donald Trump is a religious man, according to a Pew Research Center survey.