Donald Trump’s critics pounced after the Republican presidential front-runner quoted the New Testament before a Christian audience on Monday.
A reference to “Two Corinthians 3:17” was all it took for the Republican presidential front-runner’s Liberty University speech in Lynchburg, Virginia, to catch fire on social media.
“We’re going to protect Christianity. And I can say that – I don’t have to be politically correct – we’re going to protect it,” Trump said. “And I asked [Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr.], and I asked some of the folks, because I hear this is your major theme right here, but Two Corinthians – Two Corinthians 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame. ‘Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ And here there is Liberty College – Liberty University.”
Trump actually quoted the text of the Bible verse accurately, word-for-word. The only thing that some critics objected to is that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is usually cited in America as “Second Corinthians” instead of “Two Corinthians,” even though the numeral 2 is used in print.
For instance, when publishing this Bible verse, it often is cited correctly as: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
In the United Kingdom, British subjects often refer to these letters from the apostle Paul as “One Corinthians” and “Two Corinthians.”
Trump’s attempt to quote Second Corinthians was taken in stride by the audience, but it immediately trended on Twitter as outlets covered the alleged faux pas.
- Buzzfeed: Donald Trump knows the Bible so well he misquotes it at Christian university
- Jezebel: A good Christian could never vote for Donald Trump, who just pronounced it ‘Two Corinthians’
- Mashable: Donald Trump flubs Bible verse during speech at Christian university
- New York Times: Donald Trump quotes Scripture, sort of, at Liberty University speech
- Politico: Trump bungles Bible reference at Liberty University
- AOL: Trump flubs Bible verse during rally at Christian school
Students who spoke to CNN were forgiving of the slip.
“I think the fact that he’s putting forth an effort to relate to us is something decent,” said Nacci Palloto, a sophomore at the university.
Trump also enjoys the support of Falwell, the son of Christian evangelist and Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell Sr.
“Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air,” Falwell said during the billionaire’s introduction. “The American public is finally ready to elect a candidate who is not a career politician but rather who has succeeded in real life.”
Trump was in good company with the Scripture mistake. Even radio host Rush Limbaugh initially referred to “Corinthians Two, 3:17” during his broadcast.
“Actually, folks, some Christians would say ‘the Second Letter to the Corinthians,’ not just ‘Second Corinthians.’ Ricardo Montalban, he would say, ‘Rich, Corinthian leather,’ which there never was any of. It was all an advertising gimmick,” Limbaugh joked during the segment.
Pundits’ focus on Republican candidates’ ability to woo Christian voters increased Jan. 11 after a Quinnipiac University poll showed Trump topping Cruz by 2 percentage points in Iowa.
Trump leads his Republican opponents in Iowa with 31 percent support compared to Cruz’s 29 percent.
“I have a great relationship with God,” Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “I have a great relationship with Evangelicals. … I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad. I try and do nothing that’s bad.”
The New York Times reported on Monday that its own investigation into Trump’s standing among Evangelicals showed strong support. The newspaper said “dozens of interviews” with voters in 16 states turned up a common response: “His heart was in the right place, that his intentions for the country were pure, that he alone was capable of delivering to a troubled country salvation in the here-and-now.”
“His personal life is saintlike compared to Bill Clinton’s,” Buford Arning, a retired building-supply executive in Statesville, N.C., told the newspaper.