“President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from an Iranian menace”.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said it is “possible” that President Donald Trump was sent by God to protect the Jewish nation from Iran.
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network during a high-profile trip to Israel, Pompeo said it was his faith that made him believe that.
He also praised US efforts to “make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains”.
The comments came on a Jewish holiday celebrating rescue from genocide.
The holiday, Purim, commemorates the biblical rescue of the Jewish people by Queen Esther from the Persians, as the interviewer noted to Mr Pompeo.
What did Pompeo say?
The Secretary of State was asked if “President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from an Iranian menace”.
“As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” said Mr Pompeo, a former member of Congress for Kansas and CIA director.
“I am confident that the Lord is at work here,” he added.
Mr Pompeo came under fire during his tour of the Middle East for holding a conference call and only inviting “faith-based” members of the media to join.
How often do US officials invoke religion?
Mr Pompeo is not the first Trump official to suggest a divine will behind Mr Trump’s actions: In January, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told a religious television network that God “wanted Donald Trump to become president”.
Vice-President Mike Pence and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions have also referenced Christianity or bible verses in official remarks.
His administration is also the first in 100 years to have a Cabinet member bible study group – of which Mr Pompeo was a member.
Iran ranks 9th on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.