WH Spokesman: Pastor Jeffress’ Comments ‘Aren’t Remarks That the President Agrees With'

By Melanie Arter | May 14, 2018 | 8:57 PM EDT

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House said Monday that the controversial comments Pastor Robert Jeffress made about other religions are accurate, they do not reflect the views of President Donald Trump or the White House.

Jeffress led the opening prayer at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Monday. His participation was marred by controversy, however, because of reports that he said Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Mormons lead people to hell.

In a 2010 lecture, Jeffress said, “God sends good people to Hell. Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism—not only do they lead people away from from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell."

“Do you think that, considering especially his remarks about Jews, that he's one of the right people to speak at the opening of our embassy in Israel?” a reporter asked White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah. “And can you give us a little information on how that came to be?”

“Well, I honestly don't know how that came to be, and I know that Pastor Jeffress has had a strong relationship with many people in the faith community, as well as folks in the administration, and Republicans on the Hill, and others, and I believe Democrats as well. So I think that he has a longstanding involvement with public officials. You know, beyond that, I don't really have a whole lot to add,” Shah said.

When asked if he thinks it’s appropriate for a person who said that Jews are going to hell to speak at the opening of our embassy in Israel, Shah said, “I haven't seen those remarks, but obviously those aren't remarks that the president agrees with.”

Another reporter quoted Jeffress’s remarks to Shah.

“You said before that you hadn't heard Pastor Jeffress's remarks. Among other things he said, ‘Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism…they leave people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell.’ I also wanted to talk about Pastor John Hagee, who was involved in that ceremony. He once said that Hitler was an instrument of God,” the reporter said.

“Separate from that, on Sunday, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump met with Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi in Israel, and he once compared black people to monkeys. So I'm wondering, in all three of these instances can you tell us anything about how these people were brought into the ceremonies? And do you think it's regrettable that people with these views were involved with the American government?” the reporter asked.

“I don't have any readout on how they became involved with these events. All I'll say is that those specific views that you outlined, if they're accurate reflections of what was said, wouldn't be embraced by this White House. Beyond that, I don't have anything else,” Shah said.

As CNSNews.com reported, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Jeffress “a religious bigot” for remarks he made about Jews, Mormons, HIndus, and Muslims.

"Robert Jeffress says 'you can't be saved by being a Jew,' and 'Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of Hell,'" said Romney, who is Mormon, in a May 13 tweet.

"He's said the same about Islam," continued Romney. "Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.”

 


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