Several former aides to Mr Trump told McKay Coppins at The Atlantic that the president has mocked Christian supporters and donors in private throughout his presidency.
Mr Trump has repeatedly praised conservative Christian groups in speeches and interviews over the last four years, and has attempted to position Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden as being against Christianity.
During a rally for evangelicals earlier this year, Mr Trump said that his “administration will never stop fighting for Americans of faith,” while at an event in Ohio in August, Mr Trump said that Mr Biden, who is catholic, is “against God”.
However, despite Mr Trump’s public praise for Christians, some of his former colleagues and aides told Mr Coppins that he speaks differently about them in private.
One of the president’s former colleagues told Mr Coppins that Mr Trump viewed evangelical leaders as a group that could be bought off from the outset of his campaign for US president.
“His view was ‘I’ve been talking to these people for years; I’ve let them stay at my hotels—they’re gonna endorse me. I played the game,’” one former colleague claimed.
The president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, who recently released a memoir about his time working for Mr Trump, named Disloyal, told Mr Coppins that he would be respectful of religious leaders in person.
However, he claimed that after one meeting with pastors where the president followed tradition, Mr Trump looked pleased with the “scam,” and told Mr Cohen that the pastor was “full of s***.”
Mr Cohen claimed that the president added: “They’re all hustlers.”
Additionally, former aides to the president told Mr Coppins that he would often ridicule Christian leaders in private and would dismiss the groups with cartoonish stereotypes about their doctrines.
Despite the Pew Research Centre finding that white evangelicals are more than twice as likely to say the president is religious, those who have worked closely with him doubt that is the case.
Mary Trump, the president’s niece who recently released a critical memoir about her relationship with the president, told Mr Coppins that she does not believe his praise for religious groups is sincere.
“Whenever I see a picture of him standing in a group of pastors, all of their hands on him, I see a thought bubble [with] the words ‘What suckers,’” she said.
However, Greg Thornbury, former president of the evangelical King’s College who president Trump attempted to get support from in 2016, said that Mr Trump is respectful of Chritsian beliefs.
“I don’t think for a moment that they would believe he’s cynical about them,” he told Mr Coppins.
In response to the claims, a White House spokesperson told Mr McKay: “People of faith know that President Trump is a champion for religious liberty and the sanctity of life, and he has taken strong actions to support them and protect their freedom to worship.
“The president is also well known for joking and his terrific sense of humour, which he shares with people of all faiths.”
On Saturday, Mr Trump announced US Circuit Court judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is a devout catholic, as his nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court.
In 2012, Ms Barrett told a group of students at the University of Notre Dame that it is always good to remember that a “legal career is but a means to an end…and that end is building the Kingdom of God.”
However, in 2017 she said that she would “follow all Supreme Court precedent without fail” and would “never impose my own personal convictions upon the law.”
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