After his indictment on 34 felony counts Tuesday, Donald Trump sought out a faithful audience, joining a conference call with Christian supporters who see him as not simply battling a liberal prosecutor, but ensnared in a “demonic situation.”
Trump’s longtime religious adviser Paula White Cain, working with an evangelical group called Intercessors for America, organized an “Emergency Prayer Call” for Trump. (In Christianity, intercessors are people who pray to God on behalf of others.)
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The former president — whose legal troubles stem from an attempt to cover up an affair with a porn star that allegedly transpired shortly after the birth of his fifth child to his third wife — is revered as a champion by segments of the evangelical community. This Christian crowd sees Trump not only as an effective champion of their issues, but almost as a demigod — a protector who is absorbing attacks that would otherwise befall the faith community. (This is a perception the former President’s team has cultivated, both for faith followers and MAGAworld more broadly; a Trumpworld source told Rolling Stone this week: “It’s kind of a Jesus Christ thing… ‘I’m absorbing all this pain from all around from everywhere so you don’t have to.’”)
Addressing the call-in crowd Trump spoke in two modes. Using coarse secular language, he denounced the “fake investigation” and “sham” indictment, handed down by “radical left people” who “actually have to hate our country.”
But then Trump switched gears, painting his legal woes in a frame of religious persecution. He argued that believers in “our beautiful Christianity” have been targeted: “We’re being discriminated against as a religion. We’re being discriminated against as a faith,” he insisted. “And we can’t let that continue.”
Laying it on thick, Trump declared: “The main thing that our country needs, again, is religion.” He insisted: “I’m fighting, very hard for people of religion, people that believe in God.” Finally, Trump implored his listeners: “I want you to pray really hard, because we have to have a victory in 2024.”
White Cain then moved the call along, asking other prominent guests to make public prayers for the ex-president, who remained on the line. The speakers included Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Christian Nationalist worship leader Sean Feucht, former acting attorney general Matt Whitaker, and former congress member Michele Bachmann.
Feucht used his time to summon “prayer warriors” to “rise up” on Trump’s behalf. He then prayed directly to heaven: “We know that you got a plan God… You can take what the enemy meant for evil in this horrible, corrupt, disgusting, demonic situation with this case in New York [and] you can shift it — and turn it around for our good.”
Whitaker, the “masculine toilet” innovator who briefly served as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, put his faith not in the judicial system but in the Judge on High. “We’re going to have to keep calling on God to deliver justice,” Whitaker insisted. “I pray that He can, because He is the only one that can make sure that we have justice.”
The longtime former Minnesota congress member Bachmann spoke explicitly to the theme of Trump as a self-sacrificing protector. “Father, our President Donald J. Trump has taken the blows for America,” she insisted. “He has taken the blows for us. We lift him up to you.”
Bachmann called for heavenly intervention in the criminal case stemming from Trump’s porn-star payoff. “Oh God, would you declare Donald J. Trump innocent? Oh Father, would you free Donald Trump from his trouble — and our troubles here in America?”
This notion that Trump is a heaven-sent human shield also surfaced in a similar conference call organized Monday by the group Pastors for Trump. During that gathering, Pastor John Bennett, who’s also the recent-former chair of the Oklahoma Republican party, declared that Trump’s legal battles were emblematic of a far greater struggle.
“We are in a war for the very soul of this nation,” Bennett insisted. “And God has moved Donald Trump between us and the enemy — to give us a little bit of time to get our act together, church,” he said, speaking to the faithful listeners.
“Yes, they’re after President Trump. And thank God he’s been long suffering and he’s fought the good fight of faith. Thank God, he’s been obedient to allow the Lord to work through him,” Bennett continued. “Because he, and the Lord, is the only thing between us and that evil,” he insisted. “That’s the only thing that’s right now stopping evil from overtaking good.”
Speaking in less overtly religious terms, the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani also joined the call, insisting that the indictment of Trump is a bellwether for liberal prosecutorial overreach against the Trump faithful nationwide. “If you’re Republican, if you’re conservative, if you’re Christian, watch out,” Giuliani warned. “They’re coming for ya.”
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