There were the IRS investigation and the business troubles, the divorces and the rumored affairs splashed across the tabloids. And always, there were the biased media that lay in wait, desperate to seize on any hint of internal dysfunction or family drama.
Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser paced the stage in black stilettos, railing against the unfairness of it all.
It was a spring evening in 2011, and Pastor Paula White — the woman credited with leading Trump on a faith journey to Jesus Christ — was speaking at a pastors’ conference about her own experiences. But at times throughout her two-hour sermon, she could easily have been talking about Trump’s.
For the evangelical leaders she now aims to convert to the GOP nominee’s team, that’s exactly the problem.
Like Trump, who for years was best known as a TV star and real estate mogul, White, a televangelist, is new to GOP evangelical activism. She has more experience leading Bible study with the New York Yankees or meeting the Obamas through Oprah Winfrey than hosting pro-life gatherings in Iowa.
And Trump and White share personal track records —divorce, bankruptcy, embracing views outside of the Republican and evangelical mainstreams — that raise hackles among the influential Christian leaders Trump needs on his team as he seeks to consolidate the Republican base.
“I don’t know who she is, I don’t have any contact with her, I’ve never met her, never talked to her, the most prominent her name has been is, she’s tied to Trump,” said David Lane, an influential evangelical leader with whom many of the Republican presidential candidates cultivated a relationship. Adding that her brand of faith does not represent the mainstream among more traditional Christian, he said, “She can’t move evangelicals.”
Yet White, a 50-year-old grandmother who, like Trump, is on her third marriage, this one to rocker Jonathan Cain of Journey fame, has emerged as one of the candidate’s main conduits to the evangelical community. It’s a vote-rich constituency that continues to harbor skepticism about his commitment to their policy views and personal beliefs — and White is fighting a sometimes uphill battle to change that.
Read more at Donald Trump’s God whisperer.