Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a campaign event at the Pensacola Bay Center on Jan. 13 in Florida. (Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post)

The Rev. Carl Gallups considers himself a realist.  Others might choose a different word.

The southern Baptist pastor's ideal candidate is a God-fearing, Bible-believing, church-attending, Jesus-loving man of God.

None of the current presidential candidates meets those qualifications, so Gallups chose what he considers to be the next-best option: Donald Trump.

Earlier this year, the Florida pastor, radio host and author endorsed Trump and delivered an invocation at Trump's January rally in Pensacola. Gallups has since worked to win others over to the cause.

But the pastor's support has brought renewed scrutiny to his own controversial views and statements.

On Tuesday, liberal watchdog Media Matters for America published a lengthy review of what Gallups has said — on his radio show and elsewhere — in support of what it called several fringe theories.

Gallups, pastor at Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Fla., sees America's embrace of gay marriage as a potentially prophetic sign of society living in its "last days." He has entertained questions over President Obama's birth and identity. He has also suggested that the established narratives surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing and mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., deserve further scrutiny.

To Gallups, the questions he and his guests ask are just an extension of their realist perspective.

"I'm just stating facts, stating what America's stating," he told The Washington Post on Tuesday. "I'm not sitting back making any judgment calls on what's a hoax and what's not."

At the same time, he seems convinced by some of the arguments.

Last month, on his radio show, Gallups welcomed a guest who claimed to have photographic proof that a father of one of the children killed in the Newtown massacre was actually an actor who simultaneously played the role of FBI agent responding to the attack — evidence that Gallups described as "indisputable."

"It's the same dude, folks. When you look at — there is no denying it," Gallups said on the show.

Minutes later, he called the father "a sloppy, sloppy, sniper actor employed by the Obama administration to take away your guns."

Gallups remains suspicious. He maintains that he is not a conspiracy theorist, but rather a former police officer who was taught to "look at all angles" and that he doesn't believe that "the whole Sandy Hook thing is a hoax." He's just asking questions, he says.

"What I have said is I'm sitting down here in Florida; I'm reading the same reports you're reading, up in Connecticut," Gallups told The Post. "And then I'm seeing this guy's pictorial investigation and I'm saying, 'Wow, this is strange.'

"Same way I looked at San Bernardino, from Florida -- reading the news reports, saying, 'Wow that is odd.' "

What Gallups found "odd" about that latter attack was how quickly authorities opened the crime scene up to the public.

"It was just weird," he said. "But, again, I don't know what they know. I didn't collect the evidence that they did."

Those questions and concerns may seem small compared to what Gallups, a pastor for nearly 30 years, views as a "potentially prophetic sign": the Supreme Court's summer ruling granting nationwide marriage rights to same-sex couples.

“We are the largest Christian nation that the planet has ever seen, and yet we just ushered in what I call the Sodom and Gomorrah spirit that Jesus spoke of,” he said, referring to the twin biblical cities that suffered divine judgment.

He alluded to that concern during his invocation at Trump's January rally in Pensacola, too.

"In these prophetic times, oh Lord, we know we are at a pivotal point in the future of this nation," he said. "And how well we know that presidential elections matter."

The pastor who considers himself a realist is in Trump's corner, telling the Associated Press that he has advised other Christian conservatives that the most pragmatic choice for president is the one he endorsed.

"I tell them, if you are not thoroughly satisfied with what you might interpret the depth of his faith might be, then the next thing we must look at is the candidate who will best preserve your First Amendment rights and allow you to express your Christian faith," Gallups told the AP. "We're not electing a priest, a pope or a pastor. We're electing a president, a CEO, a commander in chief. I'm not perfectly happy with Donald Trump either, but I'm a realist."

For his part, Trump is happy to have Gallups on his side. In January, the billionaire businessman welcomed the pastor's endorsement as a "great honor."