Trump met with Evangelical leaders and then said ‘Can you believe that bulls**t?’, claims Michael Cohen in new book

Conservative Christian voters have been core part of president’s coalition since 2016

Andrew Naughtie
Monday 07 September 2020 07:59 EDT
Evangelicals for Trump coalition pray over the president

A new book by Donald Trump’s disgraced former lawyer Michael Cohen has described the president leaving an event with evangelical leaders and ridiculing their faith in crude terms.

In his memoir Disloyal, excerpts of which have emerged in the last few days, Mr Cohen calls Mr Trump “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man” – and describes him tearing into one of his most loyal constituencies after a group of Christian leaders prayed over him.

According to Mr Cohen, the president emerged from the session with contempt. “Can you believe that bulls**t?” he allegedly said. “Can you believe people believe that bulls**t?”

The White House has dismissed Mr Cohen’s account of the incident, along with the book as a whole and other incidents that it alleges (including watching a urine-themed sex act in Las Vegas and dismissing “black folks” as “stupid”).

Hardly known for his religiosity before entering politics, Mr Trump has successfully cultivated a relationship with evangelical leaders and voters since he began running for president in 2015.

When asked by interviewers at the time to name a favourite Bible verse, he refused; pressed on whether he preferred the Old or New Testament, he said “probably equal” – yet despite this, as well as his history making money in the casino business and his two divorces, Mr Trump was able to lock up the support of much of the Republican Party’s evangelical base early on in the primary.

Telling evangelical congregations that he would end a supposed national “siege” of Christianity, he also formed a bond with many of the US’s most prominent Christian leaders, including Jerry Falwell Jr., president of the highly conservative Liberty University. (Mr Falwell has recently been pressured to leave the university amid allegations of abusing his position for financial gain and enjoying a three-way sexual relationship with his wife and a male pool attendant. He denies the claims of impropriety.)

However, even as Mr Trump has maintained his claims to be devout during his presidency, especially during his nomination of two conservative Supreme Court justices, not all are convinced.

He was widely castigated for a notorious photoshoot in Washington, DC this summer in which he ordered police to tear gas Black Lives Matter protesters out of the way so he could pose with a Bible outside a church.

The incident saw many political and religious leaders outside the evangelical movement accuse him of exploiting the book as a prop.

Nonetheless, in January, he launched the Evangelicals for Trump Coalition before a congregation of thousands in a megachurch in Miami, Florida. The event began with a group of leaders placing their hands on him to pray.

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