The Internet is buzzing with news that Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, has said that presidential candidate Donald Trump is a great man and a friend of his ministry. But did the Lakewood pastor actually endorse Donald Trump? No he did not. However, the two do have a long and positive relationship and a history of supporting one another.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Joel Osteen Did Not Endorse Donald Trump
No, Joel Osteen has not officially endorsed Donald Trump. The rumor is starting based on an interview that Osteen did back in October 2015 with Fox News Radio. Osteen talked warmly about Donald Trump and said that he was a good man, but Osteen did not endorse Trump for President. In fact, Osteen said that he didn’t really keep up with politics at that point in time. You can watch the interview that everyone is talking about at this link.
2. Osteen Has Said, ‘You Can’t Find a More Gracious, Giving Person Than Mr. Trump’
The 2015 interview isn’t the only one that Osteen did where he talked about Donald Trump favorably. In an interview between Joel Osteen and Donald Trump back in 2014, when Osteen was launching his Sirius XM channel, Osteen praised Trump and talked about what a wonderful man he was. You can listen to the interview above.
According to Sirius XM’s blog, the Osteens were also big fans of Trump’s reality show, The Apprentice. Their daughters used to run around the house yelling, “You’re fired!”
Interestingly, not everyone at Osteen’s church mirrors his feelings on Trump. Huffington Post did an interview in late February with people at Osteen’s Lakewood Church and many said they don’t support the presidential candidate. One church attendee said: “His whole thing is to say nasty things and not offer anything real.” Another church attendee said that he supported Ted Cruz over Trump because he didn’t like the “antagonisms” that Trump has said.
3. In October, Osteen Told Fox Radio That Trump Is ‘A Friend Of Our Ministry’ and ‘A Good Man’
Osteen, when promoting his book “The Power of I Am,” he talked about how important it is to not speak negatively about yourself. Osteen said it’s important to talk positively about yourself because “as a man thinks, so he will become,” according to the Bible. In that context, they talked about Donald Trump and his message “Make America Great Again.” Osteen said, up front, that he wasn’t on top of politics, but the idea that the country wasn’t where it should be resonated with the public.
Osteen then added: “Mr. Trump, he is an incredible communicator and brander like President Clinton said. He’d been a friend of our ministry. He’s a good man.” You can watch the interview at this link.
4. Trump Spoke Warmly About the Osteens: ‘We Can Use More of You Folks!’
The feelings of admiration are mutual between the Osteens and Donald Trump. When Joel Osteen launched his new channel on SiriusXM, he and his wife hosted a special Q&A with a live audience. Trump called in and told the Osteens: “You’re going to give a big blessing to the city; we can use more of you folks!”
Trump has also been known to share Joel Osteen’s tweets on his own Twitter account, such as the one above from 2013. In the same Twitter conversation, he later wrote:
5. Twitter Is Going Crazy About Osteen’s Interview
Meanwhile, the Twitter-verse is going crazy about Joel Osteen’s October interview and what he said about Donald Trump. Even though he didn’t endorse Trump, people are still reacting passionately about his statements. Much of this anger is due to recent controversies around violence at Donald Trump’s rallies and the candidate’s reaction. Trump is blaming Bernie Sanders’ supporters for the violence. Others are saying that when Trump said he would pay the legal fees for the supporter who punched a protestor during a Trump rally, that encouraged the violence, The Hill reported. Trump also came under fire from some Evangelicals when he did not immediately condemn an endorsement from David Duke, although he later disavowed the support.
People are going so far as to call Osteen a hypocrite and a heretic for his comments about Trump. Here are some of the many reactions:
Others are calling for a little calm in the middle of the storm and are saying that people are overreacting: