The prominent evangelical minister Robert Jeffress is generating headlines this week after referring to Joe Biden as the president-elect in a recent Fox News op-ed. The statement makes him the latest of President Donald Trump’s most ardent allies to accept what election officials and pundits have been reporting for a week now: that Trump will join the likes of George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter to become a one-term president.
Jeffress is the senior pastor of the Southern Baptist megachurch First Dallas and perhaps Trump’s most loyal advocate within the political powerhouse that is the white evangelical community, stumping for him even before it was clear Trump would win the 2016 Republican nomination.
Since the election, the pastor has proven to be an equally unflinching footsoldier, publicly shrugging off scandals ranging from Trump’s treatment of asylum seekers to his hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
For Jeffress to now break with the president to recognize Joe Biden as the victor of the 2020 election indicates just how desperate Trump’s situation is.
“It appears that former Vice President Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20th,” the minister writes, calling the news “a bitter pill” for “millions of Christians across our nation.”
The concession is not total. By noting that Biden’s win is contingent on the president’s failure in the courts, he leaves room for the possibility of a Trump comeback. But Jeffress clearly isn’t counting on one. Instead, he encourages Christians to trust that Biden’s win is an expression of God’s will, and to honor the process and new president accordingly.
“When Joe Biden becomes president, we should commend him for the things he does right,” he writes. “We should condemn the things he does wrong. And above all, we must pray fervently for our president.”