President Donald Trump’s United Nations General Assembly address – which began with world leaders audibly laughing at his boast that he has accomplished more in his first two years than any president in history – received high marks from one of his most reliable evangelical defenders.
Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, called Tuesday’s address “the strongest speech to the United Nations of any president in history — Democrat or Republican.”
“His bold and courageous address is another reminder of why he was elected president — and others weren’t,” Jeffress, a member of Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisory team, posted on Twitter.
Trump appeared surprised at laughter heard in response to his claim early in the address: “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”
“Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay,” the U.S. president remarked, before proceeding with a nearly 35-minute defense of his administration’s “America first” foreign policy.
“America is governed by Americans,” Trump said. “We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.”
Trump said America’s policy of “principled realism means we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies and so-called experts who have been proven wrong over the years, time and time again.”
“This is true not only in matters of peace, but in matters of prosperity,” the president said, including the nation’s status as the world’s largest giver of foreign aid, a policy Trump said is under review.
“Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends,” he said. “And we expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.”
The American leader said recognition of U.S. sovereignty and independence will open new avenues for cooperation.
“So together, let us choose a future of patriotism, prosperity and pride,” Trump wrapped up his address. “Let us choose peace and freedom over domination and defeat, and let us come here to this place to stand for our people and their nations, forever strong, forever sovereign, forever just, and forever thankful for the grace and the goodness and the glory of God.”
“Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the nations of the world,” he concluded.
Jeffress, a Fox News contributor and one of the first evangelical leaders to embrace Trump’s run for the White House in 2016, recently asserted that conservative Christian voters still back the president, even though they don’t support “extra-marital affairs” or “hush money payments.”
Earlier he responded to Trump’s alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, commenting: “The reason we supported President Reagan was not because we were supporting womanizing or divorce. We supported his policies.” Reagan’s son, political consultant and author Michael Reagan, reacted angrily, pointing out his father was divorced from actress Jane Wyman before he started dating and eventually remarried.