Evangelical Leaders Boast of Oval Office Meeting with Donald Trump

Rodney Howard-Browne: “A dream come true”

Robert Jeffress: “The ultimate selfie!”

Jim Garlow: “I just had a picture taken of me/us with the President- TAKEN BY THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!! Am I the only person in the world to experience that ??”

From CBN:

About two dozen evangelical leaders spontaneously prayed with President Trump in the Oval Office Monday during a day-long “listening session” with the Office of Public Liaison.

Johnnie Moore, a former senior vice-president at Liberty University [said:] “It shows a substantive relationship between the evangelical community and this administration,” he told CBN News.

Along with Johnnie Moore and Tony Suarez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the meeting included (emphases added):

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (FRC); Pastor John Hagee, founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio [previously blogged here]; Paula White, senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida [Trump’s “God Whisperer, blogged here]; former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas; Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa, California; Rodney Howard-Browne, senior pastor at the River at Tampa Bay Church, Mike Evans, the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem [previously blogged here], and Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte and others.

Several of those in attendance have posted photos and comments on social media, revelling in their validation by Trump, and a number of secular news stories have followed (e.g. Daily MailWashington Post).

Particular attention has focused on “Holy Laughter” exponent Rodney Howard-Browne, whose photo of the back of Trump’s head while the pastors were laying hands on him has now been widely reproduced. According to Howard-Browne:

Yesterday was very surreal for @ahowardbrowne & I. 30 years ago we came from South Africa to America as missionaries. Yesterday I was asked by Pastor Paula White-Cain to pray over our 45th President – what a humbling moment standing in the Oval Office – laying hands and praying for our President – Supernatural Wisdom, Guidance and Protection – who could ever even imagine – wow – we are going to see another great spiritual awakening #ovaloffice #westwing #whitehouse#washingtondc


Highlight after all these years of fighting for America – standing in the Oval Office with President Donald J.Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and Pastor Paula White and other Faith Leaders – listening to our great President talk about America – Great Job Mr President- Great Job #ovaloffice #westwing #whitehouse #washingtondc

PS thank you to Pastor Paula White for making a dream come true

Back in 2009, Howard-Browne was warning that the Obama administration was advancing “socialistic policies that could lead to religious persecution, and eventually set the stage for a one-world government and the introduction of the Antichrist”; however, he is now more optimistic, in 2016 telling the conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles (a religious counterpart to Alex Jones) that a Trump victory “will give us a stay of execution” from “a one-world government, one-world religion, one-world money system, and the rise of the Antichrist”. (1)

One Facebook user left a comment that she was able to identify Howard-Browne’s hand in the photo by his distinctive black-diamond ring; by their bling you shall know them.

Robert Jeffress, meanwhile, boasted of his photo with Trump as the “Ultimate selfie!”, adding:

Always an honor to visit with our great President Donald J. Trump! Forget#FakeNewsMedia. Donald J. Trump is energized and determined to #MAGA!

Further details about how the meeting came to take place are provided by Jim Garlow:

Okay. This hit me funny. A group of us were in meeting at the EOB – next to the White House. Unexpectedly Jared Kushner showed up. Then Vice President Mike Pence showed up. And he said President Trump wanted us to come to the Oval Office. We did. We were gathered around President Trump seated at his desk for an official photograph. VP Pence saw me take out my phone, saw the look on my face that I so wanted a pic with my phone. The VP reached out his hand (not a word was said) took my phone, took the picture, handed the phone back to me!! I could not believe it. I just had a picture taken of me/us with the President- TAKEN BY THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!! Am I the only person in the world to experience that ??


(1) This idea that the End Times is a hazard that that can be postponed is useful political rhetoric, but theologically incoherent: the Last Days are supposed herald the return of Jesus, which one would have thought that evangelists such as Howard-Browne would want to happen as soon as possible.

Howard-Browne’s “new world order” rhetoric is also part of a wider conspiracy-theory worldview: not long after the Oval Office meeting, his wife Tweeted a promotion of veteran conspiracy theorist Jon Rappoport.