Many Americans would say Donald Trump has done more for evangelical Christians than any previous president. A recent Pew Research study confirmed the belief in Trump's support of evangelicals. But I want to share with you some important words from a good friend, Doug Wead, who has an insider's view of the evangelical influence on politics. In fact, he was one of the first evangelicals to have an impact on the White House, serving as an adviser to both President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush as well as, years later, to then-presidential candidate Rand Paul.
And Doug's impact has continued into the Trump administration. The bestselling author of more than 30 books, his most recent is Inside Trump's White House, which I have read and highly recommend.
In a recent episode of my God, Trump and COVID-19 podcast, I spoke with Doug about his start in politics, how times in our country have changed and why a Trump win is critical to the survival of Christian faith and values in our country.
Doug told me that his involvement in public life "was just very supernatural. I had dreams and I acted on them and they happened," he said. "I had read the Bible through several times. And what I saw missing in my own life was helping the poor. I saw that as a very dominant theme all through Scripture. And I thought, Wow, there it is, and I'm not doing anything about it.
"So I co-founded Save the Refugees and then Mercy Corps," Doug said. "Then we had dinners; I was invited to the White House and the East Room to host charity events. I met some of the first ladies and the Carters and then the Reagans and then the Bushes." Dough and I discussed how he helped the senior Bushes, who he described as "Episcopalian patricians" understand and reach out to evangelicals.
Doug shares my deep concern for the pivotal times in which we find ourselves as we approach this fall's presidential election. "Mark Twain said, 'History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.' And that's the closest thing I've been able to find that illustrates the period we're in where there's such tremendous hatred of Christianity," he said.
He told me that, even as far back as 1989, there was such anti-Christian bias under the administration of George H.W. Bush that if anyone applied for a White House job and listed Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (an evangelical seminary in Massachusetts) on their application, it "would be thrown in the wastebasket. This was the anti-Christian sentiment in a conservative Republican White House,' Doug said. "You can imagine what it is in a leftist Democratic White House. This anti-Christian bias runs deep. It's cultural It defies logic. And now, it's being manifest on the streets."
Doug reminded listeners of something he shared on a previous podcast interview, that at one point, "out of 749 federal judges who were active at the time, because some of them were vacant positions ... we could find only four who were born-again Christians.
"Now think of that for a minute ... I just was listening to NPR the other day, and they were talking about 'diversity, diversity'. It's just fascinating to me that they start with diversity by eliminating half the country, saying that if you support Donald Trump, you can't be a part of what they're wanting to do," he said.
"But that's the beginning of diversity," Doug added. "Just think of that for a minute. Thirty-eight percent, thirty-nine percent of the country claim to be born-again Christians, and only four federal judges, out of 790-some several judges, are born-again Christians? You get an idea of why Donald Trump is so extremely important for the survival of evangelical Christianity in these next few years. Even if he does lose the next election, his impact will be felt for years to come."
Although I present the spiritual aspect of the Trump political journey in all four of my books, I cover Trump's personal spiritual journey most directly in my first book, God and Donald Trump. Because of Doug's close connection with the Trump family, I asked for his insights.
Doug said, "The only thing I can explain about [Trump's] spirituality is that God touches each of us in different ways. And it's beyond logic. I mean, there are great scientists as you know, who are born-again Christians. It just defies logic. ... You can believe in carbon dating and still believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God," he said.
"Donald Trump was surfing the television channels 20 years ago. That's when he found Paula White, but he had been watching many other ministers ... and he had lost his father," Doug said. "That was the only time that I've known that he wept—the night his father died. He had seen him for the last time in the hospital; he went back to Trump Tower, and the nurse called him and said, 'Your father's gone.'
"And he was all alone. And he went into his living room there at the Trump Tower, the main room that looks out over the city, and he wept, and he felt so lonely. He came to this spiritual experience. And when you're touched by God, it's powerful; it defies everything else. It wipes out everything else. You don't get a choice. You have to believe, because you've just encountered God," Doug said. "Something like that happened to him. And so he's been very sympathetic to the evangelical cause."
Doug reminded me that we've both been in meetings where a skeptic has questioned Trump about whether he will keep some of his promises to evangelicals. "And [Trump will] kind of wryly smile, like, 'You watch. You watch,'" Doug said. "So he has taken the lead, whether it's been appointments of judges or whatever it's been, he's done more than any other president has ever done for evangelical Christians by far."
What are some of these accomplishments? Doug had no trouble laying them out. First, he shared an insight from an interview with Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, about Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"How did you do that?" Doug says he asked Kushner. "Six presidents said they were going to do it; they swore they would do it. George W. Bush was so upset at Clinton. He said, 'Boy, I'm going to do it the first day, the first day I'm president.' He got in, and he never did it in eight years," Doug said.
Doug told me Kushner gave him a great story about how and why Trump succeeded in moving the embassy when so many others had failed. As soon as Trump took office, Kushner said, the new president was "bombarded with calls" from leaders across the globe, warning, "'Don't change the embassy.' ... And the warning was, 'If you change that embassy, there will be a war in the Middle East. And 100,000 people will die if you do it,'" Doug explained.
Kushner told Doug that Trump asked, "'Well, why did every president, all six presidents, they all had the same goal: peace in the Middle East and moving the embassy—those two things, and they never could get peace in the Middle East if they moved the embassy? So they put that off, trying to get peace,'" Trump said. "'Well, I'm going to do one of them. I'll move the embassy, and who knows? Maybe I'll get peace too. We'll see.' So they moved the embassy, and there was no war," Doug said.
Another major accomplishment, Doug said, was Trump's handling of foreign aid, which "goes to your neighbor ... it goes to pay for hospital managers to come to America from Egypt and other countries, and that's 'foreign aid, 'but they come to America, and they work in America. They grade your papers at Harvard. ... a lot of people don't know that [foreign aid doesn't] go to starving children on the streets of Cairo. It goes to well-heeled people. And it goes back to Americans in many cases."
Doug also shared another presidential accomplishment, which a reader shared with him, that provides insight into the kind of shrewd businessman Trump is.
"They said that there was a meeting in the Oval Office, and the president was just irate over the amount of money being spent on the Afghan war," Doug said. "And the Pentagon ... the generals were there, and they brought him in all these pages that he was going through, line item by line item, and he sees this huge amount of money."
When Trump asked about the large sum, Doug said the generals told him, "Mr. President, that's the Afghan army; we pay the salaries of every soldier in the Afghan army."
"Why do we do that?" Trump wanted to know.
"Well, they're our army because we pay for them. They train the way we want them to train. They go where we want them to go. They fight where we want them to fight. Would you rather have our young men die in the war in Afghanistan? This is our army, but it's our army because we pay for it. We pay the salaries, they work for us," the officials explained.
Trump continued to protest the amount spent, Doug said, and the generals told him the U.S. government was paying the salaries for 200,000 Afghan soldiers.
"What are their names?" the president asked.
"Pardon me, sir?"
"What are the names—of these soldiers? There's 200,000? What are the names?"
The Pentagon officials promised to run an audit, Doug said. They hired a firm in Afghanistan to do just that. "And on their first pass, they discovered that 100,000 of those soldiers were 'ghost soldiers'" who never showed up to fight.
Billions of dollars were "going down a rat hole, going to wealthy people and to corrupt people in America and in Afghanistan and other allied countries that work with us," Doug said. "That's Donald Trump. He wants to do things right. ... He's a businessman, and he can spot a scam a mile away."
Doug shared another story about Trump's business savvy. "That was what happened with NATO," he said. "The media went crazy: 'You're destroying this; this is our oldest alliance; you're destroying NATO.' And he blew the whole thing up and rebuilt it, and now NATO provides an additional $90 billion that [the NATO nations] were not paying.
"We were paying for high-speed railways in Germany and beautiful new freeways and airports all over Europe," Doug said. "The American middle-class taxpayers [in] little towns across America—that's where our taxes were going. That's why our education was falling apart; it was going to German education and French education, and the money was going to them because they didn't have to pay for their own defense. We paid their whole defense budget. [In] every one of those countries, our taxpayers paid it. And Trump had had enough of that. He said, 'It's time for you guys to at last pay what you promised you would pay.'"
Will Trump Win?
I couldn't resist asking Doug what he thought about Trump's chances for victory with the odds seemingly against him, just as they were at this point in the 2016 election.
"You're not going to like my answer," he told me. "My answer is—I don't know. And I was one of the first to predict that Donald Trump would win the nomination. I had supported Rand Paul, worked for Rand Paul. But when Rand Paul dropped out, I immediately jumped to Trump."
As others have done, Doug compared Trump's presidency to that of Andrew Jackson, who, he says, "took on the national bank." Doug says, "Donald Trump, as you know, has taken on the monopolies and the banks and central banking, and he's their enemy. He's released the angels of small business. That was the secret—all of his great economy was getting small businessmen back on their feet again, and so there are a lot of forces arrayed against him.
"All of the television networks are owned by those monopolies. Viacom, for example, owns CBS and owns big publishing companies like Simon & Schuster. Disney, which gets 40% of its money from China, owns ABC. And so you're going to see [Trump] opposed by all of the big monopolies. They like regulations. And they want to keep the small businesses from competing with them. So they promote any special interests. You can name it, I don't care what the cause is, they'll donate money, they'll get on their board of directors, and they'll promote new regulations for one issue or another, the purpose being to cripple the mom and pop stores that can't afford to meet all those regulatory criteria.
"So he's got a lot of enemies arrayed against him," Doug said. "He's got the whole establishment arrayed against him, Republican and Democrat. So if he wins, it will be a miracle of God and the enthusiasm of his base."
If you enjoyed this insider perspective on why Trump must win in 2020, listen to our entire God, Trump and the 2020 Election podcast interview at this link, and share this article and podcast with family, friends and anyone else who cares about the future of our country.
Of course, I hope you'll visit stevestrangbooks.com where you can purchase my latest book, God, Trump and COVID-19, in print and digital form along with the bestselling book President Trump brandished at the 2018 World Economic Forum, God and Donald Trump; its sequel, Trump Aftershock; and the book that gives the spiritual and prophetic background for this year's election, God, Trump and the 2020 Election. This fall's election is critical to our nation's future, and it's time for the church to take a stand for the biblical values Trump has stood behind again and again.
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