Pompeo: Perhaps Trump is, like Bible’s Esther, meant to save Jewish people from Iran | TribLIVE.com
Politics Election

Pompeo: Perhaps Trump is, like Bible’s Esther, meant to save Jewish people from Iran

The Washington Post
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives for a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested it is “possible” that President Donald Trump is meant to save the Jewish people, responding to an interview question whether Trump is a new Esther, a biblical character who convinced the king of Persia not to destroy the Jews. The comments came during Purim, a Jewish holiday that marks Esther’s story.

Pompeo made the comments during an interview in Jerusalem with the Christian Broadcasting Network, which was founded by televangelist Pat Robertson and has a large evangelical audience. After he was asked whether Trump was a new Esther, he responded, “as a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible.”

In the story of Esther, a man named Haman is cited as being responsible for encouraging the king to slaughter the Jews, and while questioning Pompeo, CBN’s Chris Mitchell described Iran as a modern-day Haman.

“I am confident that the Lord is at work here,” Pompeo said, noting how he visited the tunnels under Jerusalem.

“It was remarkable – so we were down in the tunnels where we could see 3,000 years ago, and 2,000 years ago – if I have the history just right – to see the remarkable history of the faith in this place and the work that our administration’s done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state remains,” he said.

Pompeo has served as a deacon at his Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Kansas, and taught Sunday school for elementary school-age children. Earlier this week, Pompeo held a briefing with reporters that caused controversy after a State Department press corps reporter was reportedly disinvited after being told the call was for “faith-based media.” His past comments have concerned Muslim advocates, though he has many evangelical fans.

Surveys by the Pew Research Center show wide religious differences in Middle East sympathies, though white evangelicals overwhelmingly sympathize with Israel compared with other religious groups. Among evangelicals, 78 percent suggest sympathy for Israel, while 5 percent sympathize more with the Palestinians.

Some evangelicals have compared Trump with many biblical figures in the past, especially describing him as a modern-day David, a flawed king who was chosen by God. Paula White, a megachurch pastor and adviser to Trump, has also compared him to Esther. But some religious leaders cringe at those comparisons.

“Trying to draw parallels between the President and biblical figures is not a helpful way to conduct foreign policy,” Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, president of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said in an email. “We would prefer that the Secretary of State leave the theology to the clergy.”

Last year, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there. On Thursday, he said the United States should recognize Israel’s control of the disputed Golan Heights.

After arriving in Israel Wednesday, the secretary of state met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and in a joint news conference, Pompeo vowed to fight anti-Semitism.

Categories: News | Politics Election
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.