‘Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) President Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser, Paula White, has been widely criticized for her questionable, often heretical statements.
But she continues to defend her proximity to the president, touting the “special” relationship she’s built with Trump.
White said she believes God told her to help Trump. “God kept opening doors until eventually, 19 years ago, I get a phone call out of the blue, from this man named Donald Trump,” she said at a recent event, recalling the day the then-New York real estate mogul called her in 2002. “He said, ‘You’re fantastic.’ He said, ‘You have the ‘it’ factor.’ I said, ‘Sir, we call that the anointing.’”
Trump and White kept in contact, not “knowing that one day that man that God told me to show him who He was would become the president of the United States of America,” she said, according to Mother Jones.
But White’s role in the White House has received a good deal of criticism. She continues to preach at her own Florida megachurch, and speaks across the country, often demanding money from attendees and threatening negative divine consequences if they don’t give.
At a recent event, for example, she claimed that the only reason she “got to the White House from the trailer [park]” is because she gave money to God and the church.
“If she is formally working on the White House staff and continuing to raise money and do other activities for her church, she creates the appearance of using her public position for personal gain,” says Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonprofit government watchdog group.
But White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham made it clear that White is not being paid by the White House or Trump.
Financially, White “works closely with [the White House Counsel’s Office] to ensure compliance with all government ethics rules related to her outside positions,” Grisham explained.
Still, it’s difficult to separate White from the prosperity gospel she preaches, said Robert Weissman, president of the nonprofit group Public Citizen.
“For her, religion is a business, so you worry about how she’s trying to leverage the official White House position to advance her business interests and how her business interests might influence what she does in the White House,” he said.
The problem isn’t just that White encourages regular tithing; it’s that she correlates how much a person gives to how much they will then receive.
For example, a White House-caliber blessing—like the one she claims to have received—would require a “First Fruits” offering, which could be either the first week’s pay or even the first month’s pay.
“I told you about the trailer to the White House because I’m not here by coincidence,” she told her congregants. “You can’t just bring a gratitude offering. It has to be a First Fruits offering! If it is one week’s salary, if it’s a month. If it’s a day, it’s got to be the whole of something. Quickly! Bring it up—do you need an envelope?”
If congregants prioritize earthly expenses instead, White claims they’re not truly putting God first.
“Instead of writing [that check] to the house of God as I’m instructed to, then what I’m saying spiritually is, ‘Florida Power and Light (FPL), I have now established a spiritual law that put you first. So, FPL, save my family, FPL, deliver my drug addicted son. FPL, kill this cancer that doctors say is in my body,’” she recently told her congregants.
White touts her “close” relationship with Trump as proof that her strategy works. She claims to have advised Trump not to run for president in 2011, and when he did run for president a few years later, she said he asked her to be the bridge to the evangelical community.
However, most prominent evangelical leaders have rejected White and her ministry, which they consider to be heretical.
“Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe,” Russell Moore, the president the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm, tweeted back in 2016.