Donald Trump is insisting that he doesn't have a 'Messiah complex' despite telling reporters last week that he was the "chosen one" to sort out the US's trade talks with China.
The timing of the comment added to the negative press as it followed immediately on from the his retweet of a post by a conservative radio host likening him to Jesus.
"I am the chosen one," he told reporters. "Somebody had to do it. So I'm taking on China. I'm taking on China on trade. And you know what? We're winning.
"I was put here by people to do a great job. And that's what I'm doing. And nobody has done a job like I've done."
Now Trump says he was being "sarcastic" and is blaming the media for apparently misrepresenting him.
"When I looked up to the sky and jokingly said 'I am the chosen one,' at a press conference two days ago, referring to taking on Trade with China, little did I realize that the media would claim that I had a 'Messiah complex.' They knew I was kidding, being sarcastic," he tweeted.
"I was smiling as I looked up and around. The MANY reporters with me were smiling also. They knew the TRUTH...And yet when I saw the reporting, CNN, MSNBC and other Fake News outlets covered it as serious news & me thinking of myself as the Messiah. No more trust!"
Trump triggered a backlash from Christians when he shared a tweet earlier on by conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root comparing him to the "King of Israel" and "the Second Coming".
Harvest Ministries founder Jay Lowder said it was "dangerous" to compare anyone to the Messiah.
"In the evangelical community, we have come to incorrectly believe that any critique of Trump only serves to promote the party on the left. But embracing critiques proves we are objective, not blind to the flaws in political par-ties or our presidents," Lowder wrote in the Washington Post.
"Trump is neither the 'Second Coming of God' nor the 'Messiah.' In repeating the profane quote, he gave a narcissistic endorsement and even thanked Root, a well-known conspiracy theorist, for his words."
He added: "Messianic claims are dangerous, because God does not share glory with anyone."
Christian activist Shane Claiborne also took the President to task.
"This is some straight up first-century-Emperor-worship happening. Rebuke it, in the name of Jesus! Jesus is Lord, Trump is not," he wrote on Twitter.