A pastor and advisor to President Donald Trump says a religious council that formed during the campaign is maintaining a presence in the White House.
Some business leaders and other consultants have bowed out of advisory councils, even causing them to shut down, but pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress says the evangelical advisory council that formed during the campaign is not going to abandon the President.
“There are no perfect presidents or pastors,” Jeffress says of Trump. “But the fact is this president has done more to reach out to the faith community than any president in history.”
Jeffress, who pastors First Baptist Church in Dallas, raised eyebrows among Evangelicals last year when he appeared on the campaign trail with Trump, famous for his image as a playboy billionaire. Evangelicals were backing several other GOP candidates at the time but Jeffress argued that Trump was the most electable – a prediction that proved true.
Speaking to National Public Radio last year, Jeffress compared Trump’s coarse campaigning style to George Patton, the World War II general.
Gen. Patton “was intent on winning a war and I think we are in a war right now,” the pastor commented. “We need to win this war and I think we need a president who is intent on doing that who can get elected.”
Now, eight months into Trump’s first year, Jeffress points to Trump’s successful nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court as a major accomplishment.
The Southern Baptist pastor also points to Trump’s signing of a religious freedom executive order, which the President signed in May in the Rose Garden surrounded by Little Sisters of the Poor, which had been in a legal fight over the contraceptive mandate in ObamaCare.
“With this executive order we are ending the attacks on your religious liberty,” Trump told the nuns, “and we are proudly re-affirming America’s leadership role as a nation that protects religious freedom for everyone.”
Earlier this month, the White House disbanded the Manufacturing Council and the proposed Infrastructure Council after Trump’s remarks on Charlottesville, which some deemed insensitive after a neo-Nazi drove his car through a crowd of communist and other left-wing counter-protesters, killing one woman.
The Washington Post reported days later that a New York pastor, A.R. Bernard, dropped out of the evangelical council after Charlottesville.
The same story also quoted author and scholar Eric Metaxas, who said Trump found himself in a “tough spot” after Charlottesville.
“And people who love Jesus know that when someone is down that person needs God more, not less,” Metaxas said of Trump.
After Hurricane Harvey roared through the Texas coast, Trump signed a proclamation for a National Day of Prayer in the Oval Office and, looking to his right, asked Jeffress to pray.
Jeffress tells OneNewsNow the campaign’s evangelical council is currently called the White House Faith Initiative, owing to “legal ramifications” over creating an official board or council.
“So right now, at the moment, we’re recording this as an informal group,” Jeffress tells OneNewsNow.
That could change soon, he adds, as the White House “formalizes” the role of the council.
“There may be two tracks,” he says of the religious council, “One that deals with policy and spiritual issues, the other being the faith initiative program of actual governmental programs and faith organizations partnering.”
Read more at Jeffress: Sticking with the one who is sticking with us.