White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told a Christian television station Wednesday that God “wanted Donald Trump to become president” so he could support “a lot of the things that people of faith really care about.”
The early, abbreviated transcript provided by the conservative evangelical station CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network, didn’t include specifics from Sanders. However, many in a devoted segment of Trump’s base have said they consider any drawbacks of his presidency worth it because the president regularly speaks about their priorities and picked two Supreme Court justices believed to oppose abortion. On Monday, Trump lauded proposed state-level legislation meant to bring more teaching of the Bible in public schools.
“Does it kind of blow your mind that someone like Donald Trump, who is sitting in the Oval Office, I know you can list the accomplishments, but at the same time just from a spiritual perspective there are a lot of Christians who believe that for such a time as this --” said David Brody of CBN, trailing off, according to the transcript.
Sanders replied: “I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times, and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president and that’s why he’s there. And I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about.”
The interview, which was to air later Wednesday, was on CBN’s show “Faith Nation.”
Much of CBN’s audience is composed of white evangelicals, Trump’s most fervent supporters. In a new Washington Post-ABC poll, Republicans and white evangelical Protestants were the only segments of the U.S. population in which a majority said they would “definitely” support the president in 2020. Fifty-six percent of all Americans said they would definitely not support Trump if he were the GOP nominee again, the poll found.
In the interview, according to the abbreviated transcript, Brody said some new Democratic lawmakers have “out there” language and alliances when it comes to the issue of anti-Semitism. He cited no specific examples, according to the transcript provided by CBN, and then asked Sanders whether the White House is “concerned.”
Sanders didn’t name any specific lawmakers or comments. She mentioned only people who “take picture after picture” with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Several leaders of the national Women’s March, held earlier this month in Washington, have refused to denounce Farrakhan, who is known for making virulently anti-Semitic remarks.
“I think it is outrageous that the leadership of Democrats haven’t called on these people to either take their comments back, they haven’t condemned them. Anytime somebody who’s not even associated with the president says something, the first thing is: ‘Will you condemn, will you say that this is terrible?’ Where’s the leadership on the Democrats’ side to call this out?” she said. “I think it is disgraceful and I think that people need to know what these individuals have said and the type of people that they associate themselves with. The idea that they can take picture after picture and continue to support people like Louis Farrakhan is beyond me.”
The Democratic National Committee and other Democratic groups were notably absent from the march this year — compared with last year — but party leadership has not addressed the Farrakhan controversy.
Sanders was asked several questions about how difficult it is to address journalists in her job and whether she struggles with “mommy guilt.” Brody also asked what the White House felt about Nancy Pelosi “talking about immorality.”
“Honestly, it’s very hard at this point to even take a lecture from Democrats on what is moral and what isn’t,” Sanders said. “People who are willing to allow legislation to pass supporting late-term abortion, the idea that they would take out ‘So help me God.’ ”
Sanders appeared to be referring to a Fox News report that the House Committee on Natural Resources is seeking to have the words “so help you God” removed from the oath that witnesses before the panel recite before testimony.
Abortion opponents this week were also startled by a viral video clip in which a Virginia state lawmaker addressed a proposal to loosen restrictions on late-term abortions. According to the Associated Press, late-term abortions are legal in Virginia if three doctors certify that a woman’s health would be otherwise “substantially and irremediably impaired.” A new proposal would reduce the number of required doctors to one.
Pundits Wednesday debated the news value of the interview.