Former president Donald Trump was recently asked about how his presidency impacted his faith journey. His response was notably circuitous, leaving voters with a less than clear picture of his personal faith.
Trump’s remarks came in the context of a town hall gathering in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last week during a question and response session.
In one clip that has begun circulating on social media, a woman approached the microphone and asked, “How has your faith grown since you decided in 2015 to run for president, and who has mentored you on your faith journey?”
“Such a great question,” Trump responded. “You know, I’ve seen so much heartache and turmoil. I was a developer, and I did other things. And, you know, I had a wonderful—I had a wonderful life before all this stuff. I didn’t know what a grand jury was. I didn’t know what a subpoena—what is a subpoena? I had a wonderful life.”
“I’m so glad—they asked me the other day a little different question: ‘Are you glad you did it? You had a great life. Are you glad you did it?’” Trump continued. “I couldn’t be more glad. I am so happy I did it, because I’ve made America great. We can do it again. Right now…we are not a great country. We are not a great country.”
Turning to the matter of spiritual mentors, Trump said, “I’ve gotten to know, because of this, evangelicals. I mean, I know so many people, and they feel so good about themselves and their family. And they base it on religion.”
“I had never had that kind of an experience where I got to know so many,” Trump continued. “And Franklin Graham and Paula White. I mean, I’ve met so many people that are so incredible—religious people.”
“And not just Christians, not just evangelicals,” Trump noted. “You know, when I look at the Catholic faith, you take a look at what the FBI…is doing to Catholics. They made them, like, the enemy.”
Trump was apparently referring to reports from earlier this year that the FBI had sought to develop sources in local Catholic churches in the course of investigating far-right extremism.
“It’s horrible,” Trump said. “How could a Catholic ever vote for a Democrat or a guy like Biden again after the experience that they’re going through?”
Notably, President Biden is himself a devout Catholic.
Trump reiterated, “But I’ve met some of the finest people that I wouldn’t have had the privilege of meeting if I weren’t president. And they’re religious leaders, and they really are incredible people.”