NASHVILLE — Megachurch pastor and televangelist Paula White, who is a spiritual adviser to President Trump, says he is a man of repentance and she has heard him do it.
Given her pastoral role, White said Saturday in Nashville during the Religion News Association conference that she would never disclose the details of what he repented for in private conversations with her. But she declared him a man of faith and said she has watched Trump grow since they met 16 years ago.
White, who leads New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla., said she was one of the first people Trump spoke to during a “very challenging time he faced” during the 2016 presidential campaign. She described him as “understanding” in that moment.
“He said, ‘I have become a better man,’ ” White said. “He knows like all of us know that prayerfully I’m better tomorrow than I am today and I’m better today than I was yesterday.”
White explained that she is trying to surround Trump with men and women of God so he can hear their views, concerns and community needs. So far, she has connected Trump to nearly 400 religious leaders, she said.
“That is the importance to me, to make sure that door and that access continues for people of faith,” White said.
White said she regretted saying in a recent interview on The Jim Bakker Show that Trump was raised up by God. She said her comments were taken out of context, but she does believe that God raises up all authority.
“I’m a preacher and I got a little fired up and I said some things invariably that I wish I wouldn’t have said,” White said.
Prompted by another journalist’s question, White spoke about how she talks about Trump to the people of color in her congregation.
“One thing I can say a thousand percent and I know this is going to open up a lot is that our president is not a racist,” White said.
As she spoke Saturday morning in Nashville, her home state of Florida braced for Hurricane Irma to make landfall. White called the threat of the hurricane a “difficult” experience and said her church plans to be a storm relief center, springing immediately into action after it hits.
The church is working with local and state agencies and plans to serve as a shelter and food distribution center, help with social assistance services and has a crew of volunteers on standby.
“Everything is already in place,” White said.