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This weekend, a video of Trump’s spiritual adviser, Paula White, surfaced showing her preaching some potentially ungodly words.
“We command any satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now!” she says, before clarifying: “We declare that anything that’s been conceived in satanic wombs that it will miscarry, it will not be able to carry forth any plan of destruction, any plan of harm.”
White has since claimed that her words were taken out of context – she wasn’t praying for literal miscarriages, just metaphorical ones! Right. Whatever the case, it’s not the most outlandish thing she’s ever advocated.
1 She has an assignment from God
White has a close relationship with the president and his family. She offered a prayer at Trump’s inauguration; brags about how she calls Trump first thing in the morning; and reportedly visits the White House once a week.
But despite all of her talk about rejecting self-serving actions, she has called her appointment as Trump’s adviser an “assignment from God”. She has also stated that the Lord wanted her to go on national television.
2 She practices prosperity theology
White believes in a school of thought called “prosperity theology”, which sounds a lot like a pyramid scheme.
She believes that financial prosperity is a sign of God’s approval. Which means that God must really like her – she has a multimillion-dollar home in a gated community and a private jet. It follows that God must really like Donald Trump, too.
In one interview, an MSNBC reporter asks “Do you tell them that if they give to you they will get financial riches from God?” to which White responds: “I have probably said that. But my 50-year-old self wouldn’t do what my 20-, 30- or 40-year-old self did.”
Guardian reporting last year showed that White was encouraging members of her congregation to send their first month’s salary to her ministry to enjoy God’s blessings.
3 She ran a bankrupted church
White’s former church, Without Walls, which was raking in $40m a year at one point, has faced allegations over the misuse of donations. In a three-year investigation, it was alleged that White and her husband were using church and ministry finances for to benefit themselves.
A Congress investigation into the church was closed in 2010 with no penalties – although investigators said they were stifled by lifelong confidentially agreements that had been signed by church employees. The church filed for bankruptcy in 2014.
But she has also been branded a charlatan, perhaps because she proselytizes that God will bless those who donate to her church.
In late 2001, White signed a $1.5m contract for a show on the Black Entertainment Network. She was accused of “adopting African American idioms” which, if you watch footage from her show, appear to be steeped in problematic race and class stereotypes.
In her own TV show, which was picked up for a segment on Late Night with Seth Myers in 2017, she is seen making jokes about eating macaroni cheese out of boxes, and claiming that a woman shouldn’t wonder why her partner leaves her when “yo still got yo funky curlers in yo hair and spinach in yo teeth.”
In the sketch, Meyers says: “It’s hard to tell what’s more offensive, the insinuation that its your fault that your husband left you or the appropriation of black idiomatic speech” – before comedian Amber Ruffin responds: “It’s the black stuff.”