Joel Osteen, a religious leader with millions of followers, is currently under fire for comments he made in October of last year praising presidential candidate Donald Trump.
At the time, Osteen was asked in an interview with FOX News Radio about his views on Trumps campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” and he replied, “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.”
While this was not a formal endorsement of Trump by Osteen, in the wake of Trump’s rise to prominence in the Republican primary race, many have lambasted Osteen for his comments.
Twitter users have slammed him with comments like “Joel Osteen endorsing someone who preaches hate and racism. Yeah. I think he missed a few pages in the Bible,” and “Doesn’t surprise me that Joel Osteen likes Trump. Frauds and apostates tend to stick together.”
Lakewood Church issued statement to USA Today saying the statements don’t equal an endorsement, and by law Osteen can’t endorse a candidate.
“Contrary to the misinformation making the rounds on social media, Pastor Joel Osteen has not endorsed any candidate for President of the United States,” the statement reads.
Listen to a 2014 interview with Joel Osteen, his wife Victoria Osteen, and Donald Trump below: