Paula White, the pastor recently named to head the White House’s office of faith outreach, said she couldn’t refuse the president’s request to serve because, “To say no to President Trump would be saying no to God, and I won’t do that.”
Rick Perry, the U.S. secretary of energy and another highly placed evangelical Christian, recently claimed President Trump is the “chosen one.”
The Rev. Franklin Graham has made similar comments, saying, “I think God was behind the last election,” and so has former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann. Conservative author and radio host Wayne Allyn Root has referred to Trump as the “King of Israel” and “the second coming of God.”
A variation Is that Trump is not necessarily an evangelical but is still anointed by God for some purpose, just like King Cyrus, the Persian emperor who the Bible says was anointed to free the Jews.
On Fox and Friends, host Peter Hegseth said this view of Trump is not limited to conservative Christian leaders. “Going across country talking to supporters of this president, they feel precisely the same way Rick Perry does.”
Religion News Service conducted a survey in May of 2019 that assessed the opinions of just over 1,000 Protestants. RNS asked two questions regarding the anointing of presidents by God.
The first asked if presidents in general are anointed by God, while the second asked if Donald Trump was specifically picked by God to win the 2016 election. In the sample, just 21.4 percent believed Donald Trump was specifically anointed by God to be president, but that figure increased among groups believing in modern-day prophets and a God active in the daily life of the world.
Slightly more white evangelicals (29 percent) agreed that Trump was anointed by God, but among white Pentecostals, like Paula White, that figure shot up to 53 percent.
White Protestants’ belief in Trump’s anointing tracks with church attendance. Among those who attend less often than once a month, just 1 in 10 thinks that Trump was anointed. Of those who attend church multiple times a week, 4 in 10 agree that Trump was anointed by God.
DO YOU BELIEVE PRESIDENT TRUMP IS GOD’S ANOINTED?