CNN “New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota grilled Charisma Magazine founder Stephen Strang on Wednesday in asking why he and other evangelicals continue to unconditionally support Donald Trump and seemingly brush aside or overlook alleged impropriety in his personal life.
Strang is the author of the book “God and Donald Trump,” in which he asserts that Trump is a changed man and ponders whether there was a “supernatural element” involved in the results of the 2016 presidential election.
“Explain to us again how it is that evangelicals are willing to overlook these reports of infidelity and other things to support president Trump,” Camerota began.
“That’s easy for me,” Strang replied. “Donald Trump has had a reputation as a Playboy going back to the 80’s. I didn’t support Donald Trump for a long time because I didn’t approve of what I knew of his lifestyle.”
“So, what changed?” Camerota asked.
“Well, I think he changed. I really do,” Strang opined. “I interviewed him in 2016, and expected sort of the brash personality that you see in the media. [But] I found him to be respectful, to actually be a little bit humble. I was amazed, and other people that deal with him say that he’s a changed man.”
He said that everyone has a past and no one is perfect, which provoked Camerota to note that owning up to wrongdoing and seeking forgiveness is a tenet of Christianity. She pointed to Trump’s statement that he’s never asked for forgiveness.
“These allegations are from a long time ago, and when we elected him, the Access Hollywood tape had just come out and people knew that he was not perfect,” Strang said. “[W]e Christians know that you have to have forgiveness, and that God can change lives, and that the leaders in the Bible that we read about from King David on were not perfect in any way, shape or form.”
“Yes, understood, and no one’s perfect, of course,” Camerota replied. “But in order to receive forgiveness, don’t you have to confess your sins?”
“Well, that’s between him and God,” Strang replied.
“Isn’t that a tenet of the Bible? I mean, don’t you have to own up to these things?” Camerota asked. “Donald Trump famously said he never asked God for forgiveness.”
Strang repeated that the matter is between Trump and God, and advised that he’s more focused on Trump’s policies that protect religious freedom.
“I’m glad you’re quoting the Bible, but I think the issue is here [is] that’s between him and God,” he said. “The issue for me and for millions of evangelicals is his policies. He supports the kinds of policies that we think are important. He’s become a champion of religious rights, of helping persecuted Christians. I could go right down the line. And then, of course, the Neil Gorsuch appointment is huge.”
“I understand, and I hear you. That one does makes sense,” Cameron replied. “But isn’t that a little bit like saying, ‘I really like Harvey Weinstein’s movies, so I’m going overlook what I know to be true about Harvey Weinstein, and I’m going to support him and give him money for his movies?'”
Strang stated that there were only two people to choose from during the election, and he certainly wasn’t going to vote for Hillary, so he had to pick Trump.
“Well, look. There was an election between two people, and the other person was Hillary Clinton, in my opinion, one of the most corrupt people to ever run for president,” Strang said.
Camerota then asked about the women who accuse Trump of having sexual relations with them, and said that Trump has retorted by saying that he wouldn’t have done so because they are ugly.
“Well, look. It’s not about those kinds of things. It’s about the policies,” Strang replied. “That’s 100 times more important. … Millions of Christians were believing that the country was going in the wrong direction and we prayed, and God raised up a man that we didn’t expect—that we didn’t even like—but he has become our champion in a way that nobody else has.”
“Are you practicing some willful blindness in overlooking all of this and to just look at all the policies?” Camerota asked. “Are you putting blinders on?”
“Not any more than the media did overlooking John Kennedy or Bill Clinton. I mean, what they did in the oval office was much, much worse than whatever is being alleged,” Strang stated. “Plus, we all knew this. We all knew it; we just didn’t know her name.”
Camerota responded that, therefore, evangelicals knew but decided to overlook what they knew. She posited that Strang was consequently copying the media’s behavior that he had decried regarding Kennedy and Clinton.
“Well, I’m also a journalist, so I can do that,” Strang said.
He repeated that what Trump allegedly did happened a long time ago, and that he believes he has come to Christ since then.
“I believe that he accepted Christ,” Strang argued. “[In my book ‘God and Donald Trump’,] I quote people who say that. I don’t know personally if that’s true. And I have no evidence—there’s no evidence at all—that’s he’s cheated in recent years, certainly [not] since he’s been in the White House.”
Camerota asked if Strang believes the 15 women that have come forward to claim that they were victims of improper touching and sexual misconduct.
“I don’t know. I’ve not talked to the 15 women. I only know is what is in the media,” Strang replied.
“I know that I am Donald Trump’s friend as much as I can be,” he concluded. “But even in my book ‘God and Donald Trump,’ I make clear that he is not a perfect person. It is not a defense of him. It is just grappling with the spiritual issues that have brought us to this point, and raised this very unlikely president who is making huge, huge changes, and I believe in a positive way—everything from trade deficits to tax cuts. We could go on and on.”
2 Samuel 23:3 reads, “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me: He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
Proverbs 14:34 also warns, “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
1 Timothy 2:1-3 teaches, “I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”