Televangelist Paula White has joined U.S. President Donald Trump's staff at the White House.
According to a White House statement, White will work in an advisory role in the Office of Public Liaison with the Faith and Opportunity Initiative established by President Trump in May 2018.
The Faith and Opportunity initiative was established by Trump to assist faith-based and other organisations to strengthen the institutions of civil society and American families and communities. In part of the order, Trump described: "These organizations lift people up, keep families strong, and solve problems at the local level. The executive branch wants faith-based and community organizations, to the fullest opportunity permitted by law, to compete on a level playing field for grants, contracts, programs, and other federal funding opportunities. The efforts of faith-based and community organizations are essential to revitalizing communities, and the federal government welcomes opportunities to partner with such organizations through innovative, measurable, and outcome-driven initiatives."
Paula White also chairs the president's evangelical advisory board, and prayed at Trump's 2017 inauguration. She has explained about that experience: "When I got there I stopped. And I just said, 'God,' I looked up to Heaven and I said, 'only you'."
"Stopped everything I had to do, everything I needed, and I was so present with God in that moment, thinking, it's like my whole life flashed before me. Here's this former messed up Mississippi girl, lived in a trailer that they call trailer trash. Daddy committed suicide, got pregnant out of wedlock, been married, been divorced, not just once, twice. I mean, all this ... everything that people said disqualified me. Everything."
She added, "But God said, 'I have called you to shake nations.' And I'm standing there — the most powerful nation in the world — invoking the name of Jesus. And I said, 'I don't care what they say about me. History will have to write that it was a woman of God, a female clergy, that history will record the name Paula White-Cain prayed for the first time as a female clergy over this nation."
However, White's close relationship with President Trump has had its affect on her ministry. Approximately one year into Trump's presidency in November 2017, her child, Bradley Knight, revealed that her church lost hundreds of members and thousands of dollars in weekly donations due to her relationship with Trump.
"Her relationship with the black community got really frayed because of President Trump," said Knight, 32. "She got messages from black leaders, saying, 'You betrayed us.'"
However, White has encountered various controversies throughout the years, and in January 2011, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, released a report following a three-year investigation into six popular televangelists, including Paula White, Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland.
The report raised questions about their spending, and personal use of things such as church-owned airplanes, luxury homes, and credit cards.
White has since told Bakker that the investigation was really an "inquiry" inspired by the powers of darkness and likened it to the ongoing impeachment proceedings against President Trump. White said, "Right after the divorce, Grassley comes along and there's six televangelists that they're gonna hit. I find out later that basically it's because one crazy person, we'll relate this one, we talk about Trump. Them coming with this witch hunt with Mueller and the impeachment because none of us could understand. Because what it was, was one woman who was chief of staff that wanted one of those televangelists ... they picked Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, myself and Eddie Long."
She added, "They looked at the ones who moved the needle the most and had the most influence. Because they said we can't go after one, we got to go after it and then they were like, you aren't cooperating. We all cooperated. Jay Sekulow was my attorney then ... they don't talk about the millions of dollars you have to spend to defend yourself, never get back. The PR nightmare, all that's going on. Then the recommendation is this, make yourself accountable to the Billy Graham Association. ... I knew we were clean as a whistle."
She further said, "That prepared me. I always said I'll never do politics. And I don't consider myself to do politics. I do people. I say yes to God. Eighteen years ago, and I tell it in the story (latest book). The Lord spoke to me and said regarding then Mr. Trump, show him who I am. Not that he already wasn't a Christian, because he opens up his life to me. His family, his staff and I get to see truly who this family is and they get to know me."
White rebuked what she described as "fake media...on steroids now."
"It's the public perception that is so wrong that buys into this cultural deception doctrine of devils and seducing spirits that want you to believe the worst about people when you don't even know," she said.
"That's why you've got to be a person of prayer, be a person who has spiritual ears and spiritual eyes. ... May your eyes be open right now, may your ears be open to hear the spirit of God, because it is a battle of righteousness and wickedness and it did not start with President Trump," White said. "This has been a battle to try to take this nation. If this nation goes down, I'm telling you, if this nation goes down. We are the hope to this nation. This nation was dedicated with little white crosses that are marked along the beaches down by Virginia Beach and Plymouth that were marked to say we dedicate this land to take the Gospel to the nations and once the Gospel has been taken to the nations we usher into the return of the Lord."
She added, "And so yes, they want this light to go dim in America. ... If we do not be the beacon of hope to the world, and if we do not take the Gospel to the world, then there is a darkness. But I believe we're ushering in a great awakening and we will see the greatest harvest ever. They want to fight President Trump because of what he's standing for."