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Trump Scorns Mainstream News, But Not The Christian Broadcasting Network
– Attacks on the press are a hallmark of President Trump’s style and he’s avoided much of the media, often preferring Twitter to sit-down interviews with journalists. But a religious TV network has scored interviews with Trump and members of his administration this year, surpassing more prominent networks and news organizations in its access to the administration.
The Christian Broadcasting Network, or CBN, is best known for The 700 Club — a Christian talk show that’s been on the air for decades. It’s hosted by the controversial televangelist, one-time Republican presidential candidate, and CBN founder Pat Robertson from the company’s headquarters on the campus of Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va.
After the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas in October, Robertson cited a Bible verse warning that wickedness will lead to “violence and strife.” He then made a connection between violence in the U.S. and what he described as a lack of respect for authority, including a “profound disrespect of our president, all across this nation.”
Robertson has spoken favorably about Trump since the campaign. This summer, the two sat down for an interview, which Robertson opened by telling the president he’s “so proud of everything you’re doing.”
Trump’s courting of evangelical leaders
An analysis by Mark Knoller of CBS News found that since taking office, Trump gave the overwhelming majority of his network TV interviews to Fox News.
But the Christian Broadcasting Network has had two interviews with the president this year — which is on par with The Wall Street Journal and more than The Washington Post or The Associated Press, according to Knoller’s count.
Pat Robertson’s son, Gordon Robertson, is the network’s CEO. He says access to Trump since the campaign has helped to raise CBN’s profile outside of its conservative Christian audience.
“Other news organizations are saying, ‘Wow, we didn’t know about this CBN News. And how does David Brody get so many interviews with Donald Trump?’ ” the younger Robertson says.
David Brody, CBN’s chief political correspondent, says he first interviewed Trump in 2011. He says Trump understood early on the importance of courting evangelical leaders. Trump also seemed to understand that winning them over might take some effort, given his history of multiple marriages and reputation for vulgarity.
“It’s pretty funny because he walks in with a picture of his confirmation when he was a teenager … just to say, ‘Hey, look, see — here, I’m a Christian, take a look,’ ” Brody says.
Over the years, Brody estimates he’s interviewed Trump about 20 times, including an interview for a book about Trump’s faith that’s due out in February. Days after Trump’s inauguration, Brody sat down with him at the White House, where he asked about Trump’s “spiritual journey” and his attitudes about prayer.
Trump is a “believer”
“I tell you what,” Trump told Brody, “I’ve always felt the need to pray, so I would say that the office is so powerful that you need God even more.”
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