Popular televangelist and senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, Paula White, says she fasted and prayed for three days with thousands of Christians about the outcome of the recently concluded presidential election and believes God’s hand was in President-elect Donald Trump’s win on Tuesday.
“God’s hand and purpose in this” is hard to miss, White told TIME about Trump’s win. “I haven’t personally seen it since 9/11 when the body has really come together.”
According to FiveThirtyEight, evangelical voters were among the strongest demographic groups in Trump’s unexpected victory. Among evangelical white Christians, exit polls show the New York City real estate mogul winning by a margin of 81-16 percent. It’s the widest margin for a Republican presidential candidate among evangelicals since 2004.
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, just moments after Donald Trump gave his victory speech to a cheering ballroom in New York says TIME, White, a key member of the evangelical coalition in Trump’s inner circle, offered up prayers for Trump and his vice-president-elect Mike Pence that God would guide them in wisdom and protect them in the days ahead.
Many in Trump’s evangelical inner circle who were with him on Tuesday night had been predicting his success based on a spiritual experience. White said she had spiritual visions of God’s plan for Trump while Cleveland pastor Darrell Scott’s wife, Belinda, had dreams where God showed her Trump would win.
In September she joined her husband and several other high profile ministers in praying against a concentrated satanic attack against Trump.
Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., who talked with Trump four times on Tuesday said it was while waiting for Trump at the victory party, on a third call with the president-elect that Trump realized he was about to win.
“‘Jerry, I think they are going to call Pennsylvania,'” Falwell recalled Trump saying. “The next think I know, I’m getting texts from his son-in-law they were on their way over.”
Another member of Trump’s evangelical inner circle, Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas, says Trump and his wife, Melania, were “very, very upbeat,” when he met with him hours before the polls closed.
The pastor said he reminded Trump that he thought evangelicals would respond to his performance in the third debate, especially his positions on the Supreme Court and on abortion.
“He asked me how I thought the evangelical turnout would be,” Jeffress said. “I told him I thought it would be very strong.”
Jeffress said both Clinton’s “corruption” and Trump’s commitment to anti-abortion judicial nominations were key factors for evangelical voters, according to TIME.
“No Republican candidate has made greater effort to reach out to evangelicals than Trump,” Jeffress said. “The real question is why didn’t others like Romney and McCain make a similar effort. … There is a silent Trump vote that polls did not capture and many of those votes are evangelical.”
Falwell said many in the media and political class might have been less surprised at the election’s outcome if they had a better understanding of the evangelical community.
“Evangelical theology is all about forgiveness,” Falwell said. “When you look at the issues, he ended up being the dream candidate for conservatives and evangelicals. The evangelical community has not been divided on Trump, just the leadership — the people were smarter than their leaders.”