Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has been looking for ways to reach out to evangelical voters before the GOP primaries. On Sunday, the businessman and his wife attended church services at the nondenominational First Christian Church, in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
But when the Communion plates were passed, Trump mistook the silver plates for the offertory, digging out several bills from his pocket, according to the Associated Press. He, his wife and two staffers took Communion, the AP reports.
“I thought it was for offering,” he told staffers with a laugh. He contributed money several minutes later when the offering plates were passed.
Efforts to reach the Trump campaign and the church were unsuccessful on Monday.
Last summer, Trump spoke about partaking in Holy Communion. “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, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,” he said, according to CNN. “I think in terms of ‘Let’s go on and let’s make it right.’”
Trump grew up and still self-identifies as a Presbyterian, referring to the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination, though church leaders in Manhattan say he is not an active member in any of their churches. He usually talks about “the evangelicals” rather than self-identifying as one, but in December, he said, “I am an evangelical. I’m a Christian. I’m a Presbyterian.”
On Saturday, Trump released a new video showing off the Trump family Bible, saying it is “very special to me.”
He held up his mother’s Bible to the camera, pointing to one of the early pages. “In fact, it’s her writing, right here. She wrote the name and the address, and it’s just very special to me,” he said.
He ended by promising faithfulness to evangelicals. “And, again, I want to thank the evangelicals. I will never let you down,” he said.
Trump has made several efforts to woo evangelicals, including a recent visit to Liberty University in Virginia. There he was made fun of after he cited a Bible verse as being from “Two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians.” (Using “Two Corinthians” is common in Britain, and his mother is from Scotland.)
In national polls, Trump is either leading among evangelicals or roughly even with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. But in Iowa,which holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses Monday, Cruz has a substantial lead.
Trump has proclaimed the Bible the greatest book ever written, even greater than his own books, but he could not name his favorite verse.
He handed out photos from his childhood confirmation from a Presbyterian church at a rally in Iowa. But evangelicals often keep mainline Protestant churches at arms-length because they are seen as more liberal. For instance, the PCUSA last year voted to allow same-sex marriage.
Many Americans who are religious and say they want to elect someone who shares their beliefs, but this year, many are also supporting Donald Trump, whom they don’t see as very religious at all.
Trump boasts of his accomplishments regularly, but on Sunday, he said he also has a humble side.
“We’re all the same. I mean, we’re all going to the same place, probably one of two places, you know? But we’re all the same,” Trump said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And I do have, actually, much more humility than a lot of people would think.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story included a headline suggesting that Donald Trump put money in the Communion plate. The Associated Press reporter who was at the church said that he did not put money in the plate. He started to prepare his money when the plate was passed.