The Check In: Trump and Religion


-While the White House is
engulfed in scandal and chaos, it may seem like President Trump
is getting nothing done, but that’s not necessarily
the case. For example, he’s already
signed an executive order on religious liberty. So we decided to take a break from the breaking news
of the day and look at Trump’s evolving
views on religion, faith, and the separation
of church and state. It’s time for “The Check In.” [ Cheers and applause ] Now that he’s president, Trump is realizing just
how difficult the job is, and he doesn’t have much
to show for it. His health care bill failed, there’s constant infighting and staff changes
in the White House, and of course
the Russia investigation continues to loom over him. And it’s often
in dark times like this that a man will turn to God. -Take care of the people
God put into your life. We want our children to know
the blessings of God. Have a great life and love your
country and love your God, okay? In America,
we don’t worship government. We worship God. -Oh, don’t worry. Nobody is worshipping
government. [ Laughter ] I didn’t take three hours
at the DMV because I had to push through
throngs of worshippers. In fact, I heard the Lord’s name
taken in vain a lot. Now, admittedly, Trump did talk about God a lot
during the campaign, but what he had to say about God
was a real mixed bag. -I don’t bring God into that
picture. I don’t. Why do I have to repent, why do
I have to ask for forgiveness, if you’re not making mistakes? I say God is the ultimate. You know, you look at this —
you look at this incredible — here we are in
the Pacific Ocean. How did I ever own this? I bought it 15 years ago. I made one of the great deals
they say ever. -We love the Bible.
It’s the best. We love “The Art of the Deal,” but the Bible is far, far,
far superior, right? Yes. -Not only is the Bible better
than “The Art of the Deal,” it’s also the opposite. The only thing
they have in common is that Trump has never read
either of them. [ Laughter ] [ Cheers and applause ] Now, one moment
that best illustrated Trump’s unfamiliarity
with the Bible was when he referred to
Second Corinthians during a speech
at Liberty University but called it something else. -i hear this is a major theme
right here, but Two Corinthians, right, Two Corinthians 3:17,
that’s the whole ball game. -Two Corinthians, like it’s a sequel
to an action movie. “Who can forget the famous line
from ‘Two Fast Two Corinthians’ when Vin Diesel said to Jesus, ‘Hey, long hair,
pop the clutch and let’s ride.'” [ Laughter ] And then there’s the question
of Trump’s church attendance. Based on where
he spends his Sundays, it’s likely
his most common prayer is, “God, please don’t let me hit it
in the water.” And according to a Politico
article from April, aside from Trump attending
church services on inauguration day,
making an appearance at the National
Prayer Breakfast, and going to service
on Easter… And that makes sense,
because Trump would hate church. It’s an hour of people talking
about someone other than him. “Is this whole thing”– [ Cheers and applause ] “Is this whole thing
gonna be about Jesus? Did you know he had zero hotels? True story. On the day he was born, he could
not get a hotel reservation.” [ Laughter ] “It’s sad.” But still,
Trump is trying to take steps to please his evangelical base. In May,
on the National Day of Prayer, Trumped signed an executive
order on what he called the promotion of free speech
and religious liberty, which would allow churches and
other religious organizations to become more
politically active. And it provides
regulatory relief for organizations
that object to provisions in the Affordable Care Act, like including
contraception coverage in workers’ health plans. In fact, during Trump’s speech
about the executive order, he invited a group of nuns who refused to abide
by this original rule and had taken their case
all the way to the Supreme Court up to the podium. -Come on up here, Sister. Come on up. Right? Come on up. [ Applause ] -Pleased to meet you. -Congratulations. They sort of just won a lawsuit. That was pretty good. That’s a good way of doing it,
huh? Where are your lawyers?
Stand up. Come on. Stand up. Good job. You mind if I use your lawyers
for various things? I could use
some good lawyers too. -Only Trump would compliment
nuns on their record in court. [ Laughter ] “God would have been very proud
of how litigious you are.” Such a weird sequencing, too. Like, “Give it up for the nuns, but also, the real heroes,
their legal team.” And the woman you see behind
Trump during that speech is his spiritual advisor,
friend, and pastor, Paula White. Now, Paula White
is a televangelist who has known Trump
for 15 years. He even invited her to deliver the invocation
on inauguration day. Now, on the surface,
it may not seem like she and Trump
have that much in common, but like Trump
she’s been divorced twice and married three times, she’s been under investigation, and her former church has filed
for bankruptcy protection. The difference between these two is like night
and later that night. [ Laughter ] Now, White has often
been criticized for telling followers that if they donate money
to her ministry, they will be
made wealthy by God. In fact, reports say that.. And reports say that White
has benefited handsomely from preaching
that kind of gospel. -They live like rock stars with huge mansions, private
jets, and fancy cars. Their lifestyles are so lavish, six of them
have been investigated by the U.S. Senate. Like Paula White. -I’ve laid out the gospel
very clearly, and I know that Donald is saved. -Critics say she preaches
the prosperity gospel, emphasizing material riches
over spiritual ones. -Click on that donation button
by minimizing the screen. -Do you tell them that
if they give to you, they will get financial riches
from God? -Am I gonna say —
I have probably said that. Okay, here’s when I go my
50-year-old self wouldn’t do what my 20-
or 30- or 40-year-old self did. -“To be fair, my 50-year-old
self doesn’t have to because my 40-year-old self
made a killing.” Now, currently White leads the New Destiny Christian Center
in Florida. Reports say that… And that kind of preaching
was on full display during this sermon she gave
in 2012 to a predominantly
African-American audience on learning to appreciate
their significant others. And it’s a little hard to watch. -She don’t have to do anything. So every time she does, “Baby, there ain’t nobody
that can do like what you do. This is the best Kraft Macaroni
and Cheese out of a box I have ever tasted.” You gon’ wonder why
somebody else in five years has your husband. You didn’t appreciate him. You let his secretary bring him
food at lunchtime. You let her bring him coffee
in the morning. You let all the other women
tell him how good he smells. And they do. They tell him
how good he smells. They bring him his lunch
on time. And you don’t even notice him
when he comes in, and you still got your
funky curlers in your hair and spinach
coming out of your teeth, and yo’ bunny slippers on
and wonder what’s going on? Are you serious? -Whoa. It’s hard to tell
what’s more offensive, the insinuation that it’s your
fault your husband left you or the appropriation of
black idiomatic speech. Amber? -It’s the black stuff. [ Laughter ] [ Cheers and applause ] -Are you sure? -Yeah. [ Laughter ] -That was gonna be my guess. Again, this is a woman
who’s referred to as Donald Trump’s pastor
and spiritual adviser. One member of a religious
watchdog organization put it… Many evangelicals
are actually uncomfortable with Paula White’s presence
and her gospel. But that’s not stopping
evangelicals from basking in their access
to the president. Who could forget this photo
of religious leaders with their hands on Trump’s back
praying for him? At least I think
they’re praying for him. It could just as easily
be an exorcism. “I am the best demon. I have the highest ratings,
everyone says so!” [ Cheers and applause ] Remember Trump’s meandering
answer about God and his real-estate deals
and the Pacific Ocean? Well, that interview was
conducted by this guy, the Christian
Broadcasting Network’s chief political correspondent
David Brody, who’s co-authoring a new book on the spiritual life
of President Trump. The title of that book is… It’ll be the first book
printed entirely on a Chiclet. [ Laughter ] So Trump’s surrounding himself with people who seem to
prioritize wealth over faith while using his friends
to convince others that he himself
is a man of deep faith. In the words of Paula White… -Are you serious? -This has been “The Check In.” [ Cheers and applause ]

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