AMES, Iowa — During the Iowa Family Leadership Summit on Saturday, Republican presidential candidate and billionaire business mogul Donald Trump told those gathered that he “loves God” and attends church, but is “not sure” that he has ever asked for forgiveness.
Trump had been asked by moderator Frank Luntz during the Q&A segment of the event whether he has ever asked for forgiveness for his sins.
“That’s a tough question,” he replied. “I am a religious person. People are so shocked when they find this out—I’m Protestant. I’m Presbyterian.”
“I go to church. I love God and I love my church,” Trump added.
He said that his pastor was the late motivational speaker Norman Vincent Peale, who was known for his teachings on the “power of positive thinking.”
“He was so great,” Trump said. “He would give a sermon, and you’d never wanted to leave…. I still remember his sermons. It was unbelievable.”
“But have you ever asked God for forgiveness?” Luntz repeated, evoking laughter from the audience.
“I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so,” Trump stated. “I think if I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”
He said that he does take communion, and opined that perhaps it is a form of seeking forgiveness.
“When we go into church and when I drink my little wine—which is about the only wine I drink—and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness,” Trump explained. “I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed, okay? To me, that’s important. I do that.”
He says he doesn’t really think about needing to ask God to forgive him.
“In terms of officially, I could say absolutely and everybody—-I don’t think in terms of that. I think in terms of, ‘Let’s go on and let’s make it right.'”
Luntz later asked Trump to talk about his relationship with God.
“Well, I pray [and] I go to church,” he replied. “Do I do things that are wrong? I guess so. I’m a business person. I really do well at business. I’ve done great. I’m made some of the great deals.”
“Did God help you do these great deals?” Luntz inquired.
“Personally, I think God helped me,” Trump responded. “God helped me by giving me a certain brain, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. … I was born with a certain intellect that is good for [business].”
The Iowa Family Leadership Summit was sponsored by a number of religious organizations, such as Liberty University, Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, and featured a variety of candidates for the presidency.