Televangelist Paula White has claimed that President Donald Trump wanted to build her a megachurch where she could lead thousands of worshippers.
Her claims came just a day after the White House confirmed that White would be joining the Trump administration staff. She said Trump expressed his plans in 2006 when he described building a giant glass cathedral, similar to the famous Los Angeles Crystal Cathedral.
White told the Washington Examiner: "He wanted to build a house of God. He said, 'Let's do this, let's build this before we're too old'."
Trump's plans were not just a passing thought, White described, but the now-U.S. President had even consulted an architect. However, White said things never moved forward as the time just wasn't right. At the time, White's ministry was expanding, and she was also on the verge of a second divorce, which eventually came in 2007.
Describing how Trump had dreamed of the megachurch, she said, "It was part of a dream. He said, 'Let's build a crystal cathedral for God'."
Even though White didn't take up the opportunity back then to lead Trump's megachurch, she has acted as a spiritual advisor to the real estate tycoon for 18 years, and has now accepted his offer to work in the White House in an advisory role at the Office of Public Liaison with the Faith and Opportunity Initiative established in May 2018 by the president. The faith-based office was initially set-up by President George W. Bush under a different name, and was then continued under President Barack Obama's administration.
The Faith and Opportunity Initiative describes itself as established by executive order to assist faith-based and other organisations in their efforts to strengthen the institutions of civil society and American families and communities.
The order says in part: "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."
The White House has confirmed to The New York Times that White would not be paid a salary for her role on Trump's staff.