Donald Trump recently showed up at a gathering of Iowa conservative Christian voters with a copy of the Bible in hand.
“See, I’m better than you thought,” he said. Then came a black-and-white photograph from his confirmation to further prove his Christian cred.
“Nobody believes this,” he said to laughs. “What went wrong?”
As the Republican presidential front-runner and billionaire businessman tries to maintain his lead in early polls with rivals gaining, Trump is increasingly courting a wing of the Republican Party that might seem antithetical to his brand: evangelical Christians.
After initially declining the invitation, Trump spoke Friday in front of several hundred social conservative leaders at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit in Washington.
Trump brought his Bible along once again, and briefly addressed his faith between attacks on his rivals and Democrats.
“I believe in God. I believe in the Bible. I’m a Christian,” he said. He ended by bemoaning the increased use of the term “Happy Holidays” in place of “Merry Christmas” as a sign that Christianity is under attack. As president, he said, he’d reverse the trend.
…“I found him to be a humble man,” said Dr. Darrell Scott, the senior pastor of New Spirit Revival Ministries in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who met Trump at a similar gathering of pastors about four years ago. He’s now helping to organize Monday’s gathering along with televangelist Paula White.
Scott said he was especially taken aback by how Trump ended their first meeting.
“He said, ‘Pray for me that God leads me in the direction that he wants me to go in,’” recalled Scott. “I was flabbergasted. He stood up and he bowed his head and he closed his eyes and we prayed.”