ORLANDO, Fla. — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump jested to a gathering of evangelicals on Thursday that winning the election and being a good president might perhaps be his only way of getting to Heaven.
“I want to just say that whatever you can do … This will be an election that will go down in the history books and for evangelicals, for the Christians, for everybody, for everybody of religion,” he said at an Orlando gathering of an estimated 700 pastors hosted by the American Renewal Project. “This will be maybe the most important election that our country has ever had.”
“So go out and spread the word and once I get in, I will do my thing that I do very well,” Trump declared. “And I figure it’s probably maybe the only way I’m going to get to Heaven. So I better do a good job. Okay? Thank you. Thank you very much.”
The remark drew laughter from those in attendance.
As previously reported, in June, Trump also met with nearly 1,000 spiritual leaders in New York, asserting that he is a “tremendous believer” that is “on your side.”
“Christianity: I owe so much to it in so many ways. Through life, through having incredible children, through so many other things,” Trump stated. “But I also owe it for, frankly, standing here because the evangelical vote was mostly gotten by me.”
Trump also told reporters that same month that he hopes he won’t have to ask forgiveness for much.
“You have said you never felt the need to ask for God’s forgiveness, and yet repentance for one’s sins is a precondition to salvation,” conservative talk show host and author Cal Thomas noted. “I ask you the question Jesus asked of Peter: Who do you say He is?”
“I will be asking for forgiveness, but hopefully I won’t have to be asking for much forgiveness,” Trump responded.
“As you know, I am Presbyterian and Protestant. I’ve had great relationships and developed even greater relationships with ministers. We have tremendous support from the clergy,” he continued. “I think I will be doing very well during the election with evangelicals and with Christians.”
Last July, Trump was asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper if repentance and forgiveness are personally important, and he replied by asserting that he believes he is a good person who tries not to need forgiveness.
“I think repenting is terrific. I mean, it’s great,” Trump said.
“But do you feel the need to?” Cooper inquired.
“If I make a mistake, yeah, I think it’s great. But I try not to make mistakes,” Trump replied. “Why do I have to repent, why do I have to ask for forgiveness, if you are not making mistakes? I work hard. I’m an honorable person. I have thousands of people who work for me. I have employed tens of thousands of people over the years.”
“You give millions to charity,” Cooper chimed in.
“I built the Vietnam memorial in lower Manhattan with a small group of people,” Trump exclaimed.
Isaiah 64:6 says that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Jesus also outlined in John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”