Trump said to disparage evangelical Christianity as ‘bullshit’ before 2016 vote

Former fixer Michael Cohen’s book details alleged comments after leaders pray for Trump; along with offensive remarks about Hispanics and Blacks

ILLUSTRATIVE -- In this January 3, 2020, photo, faith leaders pray with US President Donald Trump during a rally for evangelical supporters at the King Jesus International Ministry church in Miami, Florida (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
ILLUSTRATIVE -- In this January 3, 2020, photo, faith leaders pray with US President Donald Trump during a rally for evangelical supporters at the King Jesus International Ministry church in Miami, Florida (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A tell-all memoir by Michael Cohen describes a scene ahead of the 2016 election in which Donald Trump allegedly said after meeting a group of prominent evangelical Christian leaders, “Can you believe that bullshit? Can you believe people believe that bullshit?” the Washington Post reported Monday.

Cohen said the US president made the comments following the departure of the religious leaders after they laid their hands on him in prayer at a meeting in Trump Tower.

“The cosmic joke was that Trump convinced a vast swathe of working-class white folks in the Midwest that he cared about their well-being,” Cohen wrote, according to the newspaper. “The truth was that he couldn’t care less.”

Large numbers of evangelical Christians in the US believe that God has chosen  Trump to advance the kingdom of God on Earth.

Several high-profile religious leaders, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have compared Trump to King Cyrus, who was asked by God to rescue the nation of Israel from exile in Babylon.

Supporters of US President Donald Trump during a rally for evangelical supporters at the King Jesus International Ministry, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Evangelical Christians are generally seen as key to Trump’s 2016 election victory, with their support cemented by the addition of prominent believer Mike Pence to the ticket as vice presidential nominee.

Last month, Trump said that his 2017 decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as the capital of Israel was “done for the evangelicals.”

The relationship between Trump and evangelical Christians has come under scrutiny of late due to embarrassing revelations involving Jerry Falwell Jr., one of the US’s most visible evangelical leaders and an ardent supporter of the president.

Cohen’s book “Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump” also claims Trump made numerous racist remarks, asserting that his predecessor Barack Obama was accepted into Columbia University and Harvard Law School only because of “fucking affirmative action,” the Washington Post reported.

Cohen claims Trump has “hatred and contempt” for president Obama, as well as a “low opinion of all black folks.” Cohen quotes Trump saying: “Tell me one country run by a black person that isn’t a shithole. They are all complete fucking toilets,” the Post reported.

Cohen also claims that during the 2016 election campaign, Trump described minorities as “not my people.” According to the Washington Post, Cohen says that Trump said he would never get the Hispanic vote.

“Like the blacks, they’re too stupid to vote for Trump,” the US president allegedly said.

Cohen’s memoir also makes the case that Trump is “guilty of the same crimes” that landed his former fixer in federal prison, offering a blow-by-blow account of Trump’s alleged role in a hush-money scandal that once overshadowed his presidency.

Michael Cohen arrives at his Manhattan apartment in New York after being furloughed from prison because of concerns over the coronavirus, on May 21, 2020. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Of all the crises Cohen confronted working for Trump, none proved as challenging as the porn actress Stormy Daniels and her claims of an extramarital affair with Trump.

Trump, despite his later protestations, green-lighted a $130,000 payment to silence Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, reasoning he would “have to pay” his wife a far greater sum if the affair ever became known, Cohen writes, adding the president later reimbursed him with “fake legal fees.”

“It never pays to settle these things, but many, many friends have advised me to pay,” Trump said, according to Cohen. “If it comes out, I’m not sure how it would play with my supporters. But I bet they’d think it’s cool that I slept with a porn star.”

The White House called Cohen’s memoir “fan fiction.” The book is scheduled to be released on Tuesday.

Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes, including lying to Congress, calls himself the “star witness” of a hush-money conspiracy that still could culminate in charges for Trump after he leaves office.

He described his new book as a “fundamental piece of evidence” of the president’s guilt.

Cohen’s allegations — his most detailed to date — are part of an unsparing and deeply personal put-down of Trump. Cohen assails Trump as an “organized crime don” and “master manipulator,” but allows that he saw much of himself in a man he once considered a father figure.

Disloyal, by Michael Cohen

Cohen says in the book that he stayed loyal to Trump for so long, despite the dirty work and volatile personality, because he wanted to stay close to his celebrity and power.

“I was the canary in the coal mine for the millions of Americans who are still mesmerized by the power of Trump,” Cohen writes.

Cohen has led a publicity blitz around his memoir even as he continues serving his federal sentence in home confinement. A federal judge ruled this summer that authorities had retaliated against him — sending him back to prison in upstate New York after he had been furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic — for publishing the book ahead of the November election.

He was released to home confinement in July and the government lifted a ban on him speaking publicly.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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