In several recent national polls, Donald Trump is leading among evangelicals nationally, despite his checkered history, and past positions that hardly seem like something that would inspire Christian voters. Here’s a look at what Trump has said about his religion.
April 12, 2011 (Christian Broadcasting Network)
Donald Trump: “I believe in God. I am Christian. I believe very strongly in God. I think The Bible is certainly, it is THE book. It is the thing…I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion.
David Brody: I understand a lot of people send you Bibles. Is that true?
Trump: Well I get sent Bibles by a lot of people.
Brody: Where are all those Bibles?
Trump: Actually, we keep them at a certain place. A very, very nice place. But people send me Bibles. And you know it’s very interesting. I get so much mail and because, like, I’m in this incredible location in Manhattan you can’t keep most of the mail you get. There’s no way I would ever throw anything, to do anything negative to a Bible, so what we do is we keep all of the Bibles. We just -- I would have a fear of doing something other than very positive so actually I store them and keep them and sometimes give them away to other people but I do get sent a lot of Bibles and I like that. I think that’s great.
Brody: Do you actively go to church?
Trump: Well, I go as much as I can. Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion. And during the Sundays. I’m a Sunday church person. I’ll go when I can.
Brody: Bottom line message to evangelicals watching intrigued and curious, but not sold?
Trump: Well I really think I have a very good past. I’ve had great success, I’ve had a lot of things. You could look at the one, I’ve had the two failed marriages. And when you look at a failed marriage – you know, so much 56, 57 percent of people – but in my case, I’m a very hard worker. And I’ve always said, it’s very difficult for a woman to be married to me, because I work
Brody: Is there a lesson you learned?
Trump: I think the message is, you do have to devote the requisite time to your marriage.
April 14, 2011 (Fox News)
“I’m a Protestant, I’m a Presbyterian. Very important. I’m also busy and probably busier than I should be. But I am a Christian. I’m Protestant. I’m Presbyterian.”
April 21, 2011 (Des Moines Register)
“I’m a very conservative person, extremely conservative. And as you know I’m Christian. I’m Presbyterian. I’m a Protestant Presbyterian, OK, which I don’t know if you know, but I think it’s important for Iowans to know that. And I’m very proud of that.”
February 2, 2012 (Fox News)
“I have a great relationship with the entire Christian Coalition. I have amazing friendships in that whole group. And I love them and I respect them. And you know, I think I have great, great relationships. I’m a Presbyterian, which shocks a lot of people, Protestant Presbyterian. They say, I don’t believe it, Donald.”
September 23, 2012 (The Observer, in England)
“To me, religion is comprehensive. It makes you think about the wider picture. My faith keeps me humble, while striving for great things.”
September 24, 2012 (Liberty University address)
“I was a brat. I was a terrible brat, actually. You know I used to love going to Sunday school. People don’t know this about Trump. They think, ‘Oh, Trump, you know, Trump.’ But the truth is, I went to Sunday school. And I loved going to Sunday school. And I did for years, at First Presbyterian Church. I learned a lot. And I learned about God. And that was probably the greatest thing I ever learned, forget all the business stuff”
August 28, 2012 (Christian Broadcasting Network)
Brody: You are extremely popular with evangelical Christians. Why?
Trump: “Well, number one, I’m Presbyterian. I guess I’m allowed to say that. I am a very proud Presbyterian. And I gave you my confirmation picture. And people were shocked to see it. But I was very little and very happy to be there in First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica. But I really think -- I don’t know, I seem to resonate. I don’t think it’s the fact that I’m Presbyterian …I don’t know, I’m very proud of where I come from, I’m very proud of my religion. And I think maybe somehow that comes through.”
May 20, 2015 (Christian Broadcasting Network)
“As you know, I’m protestant. I’m Presbyterian. Most people don’t know that, they have no idea. I’m proud of it. I’m very proud of it…Believe me, if I run and I win, I will be the greatest representative of the Christians that they’ve had in a long time.”
July 18, 2015 (Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa)
Frank Luntz: Have you ever asked God for forgiveness?
Trump: That is a tough question. I don’t think in terms of -- I have -- I am a religious person. Shockingly -- because people are so shocked when they find this out, I’m Protestant, I’m Presbyterian, and I go to church, and I love God, and I love my church. And Norman Vincent Peale -- the great Norman Vincent Peale was my pastor, the power of positive thinking. Everybody has heard of Norman Vincent Peale. He was so great. He would give the sermon, and you never want to leave. Sometimes we had sermons and every once in while we think about leaving a little early, right, even though we’re Christian.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Frank, would give a sermon, and I am telling you, I still remember his sermons. It was unbelievable. And what he would do is bring real life situations, modern-day situations into the sermon. And you could listen to him all day long. When you left the church, you were disappointed that it was over. He was the greatest guy. Then he passed the way, but he was great -- he wrote “The Power of Positive Thinking,” which is a great book.
Luntz: But have you ever asked God for forgiveness?
Trump: I am not sure I have, I just go and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I think, if I do something wrong, I think I just try to make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.
Now, when I take -- you know, when we go in church and 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, OK? But, you know, to me, that is important, I do that. In terms of officially -- see, I could tell you absolutely, and everybody -- I don’t think in terms of that. I think in terms of, let’s go on and let’s make it right.
Luntz: So -- again, you -- you’ve gone into it -- if I don’t ask this question, this audience will be disappointed. Straight question, what is your relationship with God?
Trump: Well, I pray, I go to church, I -- do I do things that are wrong? I guess so. You know, I’m a business person, I really do well at business, I -- I -- I’ve done great. I’ve made some of the great deals. I own some -- I own some of the greatest properties in the world, and my totally...
Luntz: Does God help you do these great deals?
Trump: ... I -- I think God helped me. Personally, I think God helped m. I think, you know -- look, God helped my by giving me a certain brain, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. You know, I -- I went through phenomenal school, the Wharton School of Finance, which is said to be the greatest business school in the world. I did really well there. I was a great student. So, I mean, I was born with a certain intellect that is good for this.
August 25, 2015 (Press conference, Dubuque Iowa)
Qutestion: Is there anyone in the Bible that you really relate to that you -- that you look up to?
Trump: Nobody that I would compare to. It’s actually a great question. I love the Bible. I love the Bible. I’m a Protestant. I’m a Presbyterian. I went to Sunday school. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, “The Power of Positive Thinking” was my pastor. He was until this day one of the great speakers I’ve ever seen. You hated to leave church. You hated when the sermon is over. That’s how great he was. Marble Collegiate Church. And I also had a church in Jamaica, Queens, when I grew up in Queens. And it was wonderful. First Presbyterian church of Jamaica. And I was there for years. And that’s where I went to Sunday school.
And, you know, one of the things that’s so incredible about the New Hampshire numbers is I lead with everybody. I lead with old, with young, as you saw, you saw it, everybody. But one of the groups I lead with substantially, evangelicals. And I’ve led in Iowa, too, with the evangelicals. Because they get it. They’re incredible people that are really smart. And they want to see our country thrive. And, but the beautiful thing -- because it was such a comprehensive poll in New Hampshire and they just went over everything. Tea Party like leading by a lot. Moderates leading by a lot. Everybody. Literally, I think, I mean, you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but I led with every single group and by substantial numbers. So, I was very honored to lead but with the evangelicals. I love the evangelicals. Okay. Yes, good, absolutely. Good. Absolutely. Good to have you back.
August 26, 2015 (Bloomberg News’ “With All Due Respect”)
When asked to name one or two of his most favorite verses: “I wouldn’t want to get into it because to me that’s very personal. You know when I talk about the Bible, it’s very personal. So I don’t want to get into verses…The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.”
Asked if he was an old or new testament guy: “Probably equal. I think it’s just an incredible, the whole Bible is incredible.”
August 27, 2015 (Press conference, Greenville, SC):
”I just did so well with the evangelicals in the poll. I love them, they love me. I am protestant, I am Presbyterian. I love the evangelicals. It’s really shown in the polls. Why do they love me? You’ll have to love them. But they do. They do love me.”
“I am Presbyterian Protestant. I go to Marble Collegiate Church. The church I was originally with was the first Presbyterian church in Jamaica, which is out in queens NY. I’ve had just great experiences in church, whether it’s Sunday school or whatever it may be. But now I go to Marble collegiate church. As often as I can, a lot. Because I travel so much, I go around the country.
“At some point I’m going to be meeting with ministers and pastors.”