Televangelist Paula White has opened up about her relationship with President Donald Trump and said he is a leader who truly puts “the values and the voice of God at the forefront.”
White, pastor of the New Destiny Christian Center and spiritual adviser to President Trump, was one of six religious leaders – including Franklin Graham and Samuel Rodriguez – who offered prayers and Bible readings at the inauguration ceremony over the weekend.
During a recent interview with NPR, the 50-year-old pastor said Trump’s decision to infuse his inaugural address with religious language and include an unprecedented number of faith leaders in the ceremony indicates that he has truly experienced a change of heart.
“This is a president who number one put the values and the voice of God at the forefront,” she said. “When he could have chosen one person to pray, he chose six diverse people to pray. He also referenced and used very blunt, obvious references to God. It is no doubt in my mind that his heart is and his intention in every way and his actions – and I believe you’ll see fruit bear forth from this – is to bring reconciliation, to unify.”
She added, “Here’s what we have – a president for the next four years who has absolutely dedicated and committed himself to say, let’s make America great, and I will not forget the forgotten person. He has four years as our president. In four years, we will make a decision whether he has not forgotten the forgotten person and if he will make America great again because that’s the beauty of our democracy, whether he is a man of his word with the integrity of what he has campaigned for or not.”
White also said there is “not racism or prejudice” in President Trump and said he was “very embarrassed” and “very contrite” following the release of an 11-year-old hot-mic tape in which he said lewd things about women.
“Immediately I talked to him; when I say immediately, probably within the first few hours of that release or sooner,” she told NPR. “He was very contrite, very embarrassed. And again, knowing the person, when he said, I am a changed man, I believe, and – or a better man – and I can say that over 15 years I’ve watched a man grow and I’ve watched a man change. And I think he – it’s something that he took responsibility and ownership for and something that he was deeply bothered by.”
White was the first female clergy to lead an inaugural prayer, according to the inaugural committee. “Let your favor be upon this one nation under God,” she prayed. “Let these United States of America be that beacon of hope to all people and nations under your dominion, a true hope for humankind.”
She was widely mocked by the secular media when, in a 2016 interview with NBC News, she expressed confidence in the President’s faith: “I know that Donald is saved,” White said in a pre-taped interview. “He’s absolutely – received Jesus Christ as his lord and savior.”
She added, “I know that he’s asked for forgiveness. I know that he has sought and understands the truth of that. I understand on a much more personal level his walk. It’s not something he feels comfortable … He doesn’t know our Christian-ese or language. … But that doesn’t mean he’s not a man of faith.”
White recalled that in 2011, while Trump was debating jumping in the 2012 presidential race, he asked pastors to pray with him: “And we prayed over him. We sat with him for about six hours. This wasn’t like– like an hour or ten minutes; it was six hours. It was an all day meeting and we prayed for hours. And we listened, we talked, we conversed and- and the next day, I called him or he called me, one … one or the other. And he said, ‘I’ — ‘I don’t believe it’s the timing of God.'”