Donald Trump has again praised an extreme pastor who claims gay people are likely to sexually abuse children.
Trump took to Twitter to praise controversial pastor Robert Jeffress, of Dallas First Baptist Church.
The President of the United States used his official Twitter account to promote the pastor’s new book, writing: “Great book just out, ‘A Place Called Heaven’, by Dr. Robert Jeffress – A wonderful man!”.
Jeffress, who has had a shadowy influence in the Trump administration, had directly equated gay people to paedophiles in the past.
Speaking on his radio show previously, Jeffress claimed: “Gay activists don’t even try to hide the link between homosexuality and paedophilia.
“There are some who are right now are actively involved in trying to legalize sex between adults and children by lowering the age of consent or removing it altogether.
“It would be wrong to even suggest that a majority of homosexuals are pedophiles, but the truth nevertheless is there.
“There are a disproportionate amount of assaults against children by homosexuals than by heterosexuals, you can’t deny that, and the reason is very clear: homosexuality is perverse, it represents a degradation of a person’s mind and if a person will sink that low and there are no restraints from God’s law, then there is no telling to whatever sins he will commit as well.”
The influential pastor has been shunned by moderate Republicans due to his hateful public comments about gay people, but Trump has maintained close ties to him while in the White House.
Back in January, Jeffress led a private prayer ceremony for Trump’s inauguration, while in May the pair were pictured posing together in the Oval Office.
Trump attended a rally led by Jeffress in July, and hailed him as a “great guy” in a TV interview.
Jeffress has also compared homosexuals to people who rape animals, claiming: “God’s plan for sexuality is one man with one woman in a lifetime commitment called marriage. Any deviation from that is sin.
“Of course, I’m always, the retort to that is ‘oh! Are you pulling a Rick Santorum and saying that homosexuality is like bestiality, uh, incest, or pedophilia’? And I say ‘Yes.’. It is just as immoral as those practices.”
On another occasion on his radio show, he claimed that homosexuality is “the most detestable” act in the world.
The pastor claimed: “Why is there such a high incidence of disease among homosexuals? They are engaged in the most detestable, unclean, abominable acts you can imagine.
“Because what they are doing is unnatural, it goes against nature, because of that filthy practice; there is a natural result to it. There is natural, physical consequences to homosexual behavior. That’s why God says don’t engage in it, you are going to harm your bodies in doing so.”
Speaking on a further occasion the preacher cited the 2003 Supreme Court ruling that struck down sodomy laws banning gay sex as one of three laws that have destroyed America.
He fumed: “The third explosion that has weakened the social and spiritual infrastructure of our nation, making our collapse I believe inevitable, is the Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.
“Sometimes God destroys a society immediately. But other times, as in our case, there is a series of seemingly unrelated explosive choices, followed by a delay, and then followed by the sudden and dramatic collapse, just as in an implosion.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am convinced that we are living in that in between time right now. We are living in that in between time between these explosive, wrong choices our country has made and the inevitable implosion of our country.”
He said: “You know, in the instruction manual, it said, now plug this into a 120 [volt] outlet. Suppose I said, ‘Oh, I’m not going to follow those instructions, those are antiquated instructions. I’m going to plug it into a 220 [volt] outlet. It’s my TV and I can do whatever I want to with it.”
Jeffress added: “Well, it is my TV to do what I want to with it, but I’m going to blow that TV to smithereens if I put it in a 220 outlet.”
It is the latest in a gathering storm of evidence of links between homophobic extremists and the Trump White House.
The Republican became the first sitting President in modern history to address the summit of a listed anti-LGBT hate group last month, when he spoke at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit earlier this month.
Trump heaped praise on FRC leader Tony Perkins, who has been condemned by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League for repeatedly linking gay rights to the Holocaust and comparing gay people to Nazis.
He was widely condemned by LGBT rights groups for speaking to the FRC activists, who accused him disgracing the office of President of the United States.