ST. LOUIS — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump apparently said his prayers before Sunday evening’s presidential debate.
Dr. Ben Carson, who has been serving as a top surrogate for Trump since ending his own presidential campaign, told Yahoo News that Trump prayed with James Robison, a televangelist and founder of the Christian relief organization LIFE Outreach International.
The debate came amid controversy over a 2005 video that leaked to the press on Friday and showed Trump making lewd comments and describing trying to “f***” and “grab” women. According to Carson, Trump’s prayers included asking for forgiveness.
“I know he prayed this morning with James Robison and we talked about it,” Carson said.
Yahoo News asked Carson for further details about Trump’s morning prayers.
“He is coming ever closer to the Lord,” Carson said of Trump.
Carson was asked if the prayers included Trump asking for forgiveness.
“Yes. Absolutely,” Carson replied.
Evangelical Christian voters typically vote Republican, but many of them have been reluctant to embrace Trump, who does not have a religious background and has faced questions about his character. Carson, who is popular among evangelicals, has served as a validator to the community, and introduced Trump to Robison. In June, Robison wrote a letter describing why he decided to “counsel” Trump and acknowledging that “some people I love and respect have questioned why I made this decision.” Robison also emphasized that he does not endorse candidates and is merely giving Trump guidance.
“When I have met with Mr. Trump, it wasn’t a meaningless photo op. There were no pictures and it wasn’t wasted time. I encouraged him, while assuring him of our love for him and his family, and concern for America’s future,” Robison wrote. “But I also spoke bluntly and forcefully about where I’m convinced he needs to make essential changes in his approach and rhetoric while gaining the wisdom that comes from above to become the effective leader necessary to correct our nation’s dangerous course.”
Carson told Yahoo News that he doesn’t think Christian voters will find Trump’s conduct on the clip acceptable, but he argued that Trump is still a better option than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I’m a Christian voter and I’m not OK with it, but I can look at the bigger picture, and I think a lot of other Christians can look at the bigger picture too,” Carson said, later adding, “I can’t defend the video, but I can certainly continue to support him because I think what he represents is far superior to what Hillary represents.”