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Having the Ear of the President: Evangelical Advisor Shares what it's like to Counsel Trump

Having the Ear of the President: Evangelical Advisor Shares what it's like to Counsel Trump Read Transcript

Dr. Robert Jeffress is pastor of First Baptist Church

in Dallas, and he's also a member of President Trump's

evangelical advisory board.

And he joins us now with more.

Welcome, Dr. Jeffress.

Appreciate your time today.

Thanks for having me.

Now just days ago, you led a prayer in the Oval Office

with President Trump.

How often do his spiritual advisers pray

with the president?

As needed.

And a lot of times it would be without cameras being present.

But the president wanted to say to the nation

that he believed prayer was important,

especially in light of what had happened with Hurricane Harvey.

But he said to me, Pastor Jeffress,

I want our prayer time on Sunday to be more than just

about Hurricane Harvey.

We certainly want to pray for those victims,

but we need to pray for our nation as a whole.

And I'm really grateful we have a president who does

believe in the power of prayer.


Amen to that.

Well, the president had just issued a proclamation

for a national Day of Prayer for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

How did that proclamation come about?

It was completely his idea.

He really felt like this was a time for our country

to be praying.

And many people don't know this side of the president.

I've known him for several years now.

I can't tell you the number of times

I've been with him when he would just spontaneously say, Pastor,

would you pray for us?

Would you pray for me?

One time I was conducting a meeting

on his behalf between him and faith leaders in Trump Tower

during the campaign.

I was going through the agenda.

He put his hand on my arm.

He said, Pastor, don't you think we ought to pray?

So the soon to be president had to remind the pastor to pray.

So I'm grateful, again, that we have

a president who loves Christians, believes

in the power of prayer.

Let's talk a little bit more about the role

of a spiritual adviser.

You say that you're called upon as needed.

When you do meet with the president, what goes on?

What all is involved with being a spiritual adviser

to the president?

Sounds kind of heavy.

Well, first of all, I wouldn't use the term spiritual advisor.

I think the media has come up with that term.

We officially are a part of the White House Faith Initiative.

And this is an effort, really, for us

to meet together at the White House,

listen to the administration, share their viewpoint,

and then solicit our viewpoint on a number

of different issues.

I mean, people who think we're going into the Oval Office

to lead Bible studies probably have the wrong idea

of what this is.

And this isn't so much our advising the president

as it is the president seeking our perspective

on a number of issues.

And the president respects people of all faith.

He has people from the Jewish faith, people

who are Muslim and Catholics.

But he also recognizes that evangelicals really

supported him by the largest margin in history,

and he cares about what they think.

So would you say, though, that still the White House

and President Trump is giving faith leaders

unprecedented access?


I would say-- and I've talked to people who were around during

the time of Reagan and even George W. Bush--

they did not have that kind of access to the president.

And you know, it was interesting.

I mentioned that faith meeting I led during the election time,

during the campaign time.

I asked the members of this in the room--

they were leaders of both Catholic and evangelical


I said, how many of you wherever invited by Mitt Romney

to a meeting like this?

Nobody raised their hand.

How many of you were invited by George W. Bush?

Maybe one or two.

I mean, this president is unique in his outreach

to evangelical Christians.

Well, I'm sure the evangelical leaders disagree

with the president sometimes.

DACA might be one example.

Do they disagree with the president

and speak truth to power when necessary?

And if so, how does he receive that?

Well, I never reveal specific conversations

with the president.

But I can tell you he did solicit input

from faith leaders.

And I talked with him about it as well.

And look, the president is one of the most compassionate

people I've ever been around.

And he was sincerely torn between his sincere compassion

for the DACA recipients and the oath

of office he took on January 20 to execute

all the laws of the land, not just the ones he agreed with.

I think he came up with the perfect solution

of delaying the ending of DACA and allowing

Congress, the rightful people, to make

the laws to fix this problem.

Under our system of government, the president doesn't make

laws, he executes the laws.

It's the Congress who has to legislate,

and I hope they'll step up now to the plate

and do their constitutional duty.

Well, you have the ear of the president.

So how would you advise people at home

that are going to see this interview

to pray for President Trump?

I think we ought to pray, first of all,

for his protection, both physical and spiritual

protection for him and his family.

I think we ought to pray for wisdom.

You know, he sincerely seeks God's wisdom.

I don't know if you remember a few months ago

when he was standing in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

And he pointed out that picture, and he said at the bottom,

I'm praying for God's wisdom.

This is a president that really is seeking God's wisdom,

and we need to pray that for him as well.

Well, you're also the author of a new book.

It is called "A Place Called Heaven, 10 Surprising Truths

about Your Eternal Home."

What is it all about?

Give us a summary.

Well, this book, first of all, is a hope-filled book.

You know, people would say, with all that's

going on in the world, hurricanes,

international conflict with Korea, political chaos.

Why should we talk about heaven?

Well, that's exactly why we ought to talk about heaven.

People need to know how to get to heaven.

They need to know how to get there.

They know there's something better

for those who know Christ.

But this is also an informational book

in which I answer people's 10 most frequently asked

questions about heaven.

You know, if you knew, Mark, that CBN

was going to transfer you to a foreign country in six months

and it was a permanent move, you'd

do everything you could to find out

about that country to where you were going so you could prepare


Well, if we're Christians, we're going

to that place called heaven.

This book helps us prepare for it.


Dr. Robert Jeffress, thank you so much

for your time and your energy and insights today.

Appreciate it.

Thanks for having me.

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