Televangelist Paula White-Cain has been in headlines over the years mainly due to her marriage and divorce from ex-husband Randy White to being touted as a “prosperity preacher.” Lately, she’s gone viral for another reason – being the spiritual advisor for President Donald Trump. Last Wednesday (November 4), White-Cain delivered a prayer service in an effort to call on God to secure Trump’s re-election in his bitter campaign against now President-elect Joe Biden.
White-Cain called on “angelic reinforcement” to aid Trump, particularly angels from Africa and South America.
“I hear a sound of victory, the Lord says it is done,” White-Cain told an audience as well as thousands of viewers on Facebook Live. “For angels have even been dispatched from African right now… In the name of Jesus from South America, they’re coming here.”
She also can be seen speaking in tongues and later stated that “demonic confederacies… are attempting to steal the election from Trump.” As of Saturday (November 7), Biden had been declared the projected winner after victories in states such as Pennsylvania and Nevada. Although those states are still counting votes, as well as Georgia, the deficit is believed to be too great for Trump to overcome. Trump has yet to concede the election.
But White’s history, as well as how she became known among evangelicals dates back to the 1990s. She began as the pastor of South Tampa Christian Center in 1991, a church she founded with her ex-husband, Randy. At the time, the church only had five members and the Whites lived on “government assistance and the kindness of others.” By 2006, the church had claimed it had over 20,000 members, making it a highly populated megachurch. Her appearance at the 2000 “Woman Thou Art Loosed” conference hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes rocketed her name into Black households and the mind of churchgoers. White called Jakes her “spiritual father.”
White had also emerged as a regular fixture on television with Paula White Today, a 2001 television program that aired on nine different networks at one point including BET, Trinity Broadcasting Network and CMT. Celebrities such as Deion Sanders, Tyra Banks and her future husband, Jonathan Cain appeared on the show and in 2003, White trekked to Neverland Ranch to visit Michael Jackson, days after he was arrested on charges of child molestation (Jackson was later acquitted).
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Perhaps her biggest fan is none other than Trump, who befriended her in 2015 and has been by his side since 2016 in an effort to assist him with potential evangelical voters. Similar to Trump, White-Cain has been married three times and is now calling Florida home.
“Paula White survived scandal and little support from the religious right to become one of the only stand-alone women in the male-dominated world of televangelism,” Dr. Kate Bowler, a professor of Christian history at Duke Divinity School told the New York Times. “She has done what no one thought she could do, scraping out a place for an unpopular theology beside an unpopular president.”
The scandal involved bookkeeping at the church. Without Walls International declared bankruptcy despite hauling in as much as $150 million between 2004 and 2006. White-Cain stepped down from New Destiny Christian Center (now called City of Destiny) in 2019, leaving her son and his wife to become the new senior pastors. In a 2017 interview with CNN, she denounced her critics stating, “I have been called a heretic, an apostate, an adulterer, a charlatan, and an addict. It has been falsely reported that I once filed for bankruptcy and — my personal favorite — that I deny the Trinity!” During her interview, she also said in her defense, “My life and my decisions have been nowhere near perfect, though nothing like what has been falsely conveyed in recent days.”
White’s preaching, whether it be “prosperity preaching” or not, has made critics link her with the likes of Kenneth Copeland, among others. Still, her most recent viral moment may not have yielded the desired effect of prayer she wanted for Trump. It remains to be seen how Trump handles the election and how White, the head of his Faith and Opportunity Initiative, will land after he leaves office.