Last August, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, raised his eyes to the sky, open his arms in the middle of the gardens of the White House, and affirmed before a turbamulta of journalists: "I am the chosen one". Days later he clarified that the messianic comment was a joke. The truth is that the man who says he has never asked God for forgiveness has been trying for years to approach the hard core of the evangelical religion to retain the most conservative bases in his attempt to be re-elected in 2020.
To help him achieve this he has been closely accompanied by his old friend and spiritual guide, Paula White. Since the Republican assumed the presidency, the telepredicadora who will champion the “theology of prosperity” —which equates finances and well-being as the will of God— has been at his side. But now it will be even more.RELATED
Last week, White was officially appointed advisor to the Faith and Opportunity Initiative, whose purpose is to serve as a speaker for religious groups in government programs dedicated to issues such as the defense of religious freedom and the fight against poverty. Before occupying a formal place in the Administration, White had already favored meetings of conservative pastors and White House officials, ensuring that Washington took into account the most conservative bases.
The Florida pastor, 53, married three times and living in a large mansion – the latter features she shares with Trump – began her television career in 2001. A year later, at the end of her sermon on the Paula White Today program , received a call. It was the real estate mogul Donald Trump, who congratulated her and, as White has confessed, he recited three of his sermons almost perfectly. Coincidentally, White was in New York and Trump invited her to meet his family. Both kept in touch and saw each other again at the end of the first season of the Trump reality show The Apprentice. White prayed with the program team before the recording.
The friendship between the two stars of reality TV grew to the point that the pastor bought an apartment in the 502 building on Park Avenue, owned by the tycoon, who continuously repeats that her favorite book is the Bible and that "nobody reads it so much" like him (however, he is unable to mention a verse when asked which one he likes).
The day the president took an oath of office, in January 2017, he did it on two Bibles: one of his own and another used by Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Next to him was the ultraconservative Mike Pence, who he assumed as vice president. That day, Paula White became the first religious who officiated the prayer during the ceremony. After his public appearance with the politicians, his support in the networks dropped considerably. "I saw how my followers on Twitter fell by 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 …", he acknowledged to The Washington Times. Now he has 700,000 on this social network and three million on Facebook.
In June, in Orlando (Florida), the spiritual advisor changed the tone used in the inauguration of the president's mandate to move to a more alarmist at a meeting of the Republican. "That every demonic network that has lined up against the call of President Trump, be torn down in the name of Jesus," he exclaimed to the crowd. "I declare that President Trump will overcome all the strategies of hell and all the strategies of the enemy," he added then. Some Christians consider her ideas heretical and there is no shortage of those who call her a populist and even a divisive figure in that faith.
White, like Trump, was not always religious. In his memoir Something Greater, published last October, he recounts the "divine visit" that Jesus made in 1986, when he was with his newborn daughter. In the vision, she appeared preaching on all continents. The image was an impulse to devote himself completely to religion. Since then, she has built an empire, with television, radio, books, tours of the country and, since 2014, as a senior pastor in an evangelical church in Florida.
That, until Jesus spoke to him again. In May, during the Sunday sermon, he said that the Lord had told him that you could not "miss this moment" to do bigger things. So she left her pastoral position at the New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka to open a University and build 3,000 new churches. But White's ambitious plans were interrupted by one of his followers: Trump. The American president, who tries to make sure that evangelicals remain in their ranks, called her to take care of getting it from the White House. White has not yet made a comment about it. His networks are focused right now on promoting his new book before Trump himself.