Donald Trump has claimed that he has a "very great relationship with God" in another attempt to tap into the support of white conservative Christians,
The remarks, made in an interview with CNN, follow his increasing efforts to appeal to the pool of evangelical Christian voters in Iowa, with whom Trump also claims he has a “very great relationship."
The Iowa caucuses, the first major electoral event for the Presidential nomination, take place on 1 February.
In 2012, white evangelicals made up 57% of the electorate in the key state, while they are also a strong voter bloc in the southern states.
Trump, who owns casinos, has been married three times and once referred to communion as "my little wine and my little cracker," has demonstrated an increased spirituality in the months of his campaign.
Previously in Iowa, Trump told the Christian Family Leadership Summit that he believed in God but had never asked him for forgiveness.
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
1/14 On Isis:
"Some of the candidates, they went in and didn’t know the air conditioner didn’t work and sweated like dogs, and they didn’t know the room was too big because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS?"
2/14 On immigration:
"I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
3/14 On Free Trade:
"Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people."
PAUL J. RICHARDS | AFP | Getty Images
4/14 On Mexicans:
"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."
5/14 On China:
"I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?... I love China. The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower."
6/14 On work:
"If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable."
7/14 On success:
"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."
8/14 On life:
"Everything in life is luck."
9/14 On ambition:
"You have to think anyway, so why not think big?"
10/14 On his opponents:
"Bush is totally in favour of Common Core. I don't see how he can possibly get the nomination. He's weak on immigration. He's in favour of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can't do it."
11/14 On Obamacare:
"You have to be hit by a tractor, literally, a tractor, to use it, because the deductibles are so high. It's virtually useless. And remember the $5 billion web site?... I have so many web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a web site. It costs me $3."
12/14 On Barack Obama:
"Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be on one of my courses. I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. I have one right next to the White House."
13/14 On himself:
"Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."
14/14 On America:
"The American Dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before and we will make America great again."
He has claimed that his favourite book is the Bible, even placing it ahead of his own autobiography and business manual ‘The Art of the Deal.’
“As much as I love 'The Art of the Deal,' it's not even close. We take the Bible all the way," he told a rally in Alabama.
Asked by Bloomberg if his favourite part of scripture was the Old or New Testament, he replied: "Probably equal. I think it's just incredible," he said.
However, he has declined to say which part of his favourite book he most enjoyed, believing it to be a personal matter and that he didn’t want to “get into specifics.”
At the 2015 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. he defended the right to a celebrate Jesus’ birth: "I love Christmas. You go to stores now, you don't see the word 'Christmas'," he said. "Remember the expression 'Merry Christmas'? You don't see it anymore. You're going to see it if I get elected, I can tell you right now."
In more sensitive voter issues, his attitude to family values and abortion align with many conservative Christian voters.
However, despite considerable support polled for Trump on the right, it has by no means been universal.
In September 2015, a Gallup poll rated him poorly among highly religious Republican voters, trailing in 12th place with a favourability rating of just 22%.
Rival candidates Ben Carson and Ted Cruz were seen in a more positive light, with favourability ratings of 56% and 45% respectively.
Some religious voters cite inconsistencies in Trump’s past on some of key positions – he was once in favour of a pro-choice attitude to abortion and has spoken in favour on the law protecting same sex marriages.
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