McKay Coppins reports at The Atlantic:
Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base. “His view was ‘I’ve been talking to these people for years; I’ve let them stay at my hotels—they’re gonna endorse me. I played the game,’” said a former campaign adviser to Trump, who, like others quoted in this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.
It helped that Trump seemed to feel a kinship with prosperity preachers – often evincing a game-recognizes-game appreciation for their hustle. The former campaign adviser recalled showing his boss a YouTube video of the Israeli televangelist Benny Hinn performing “faith healings,” while Trump laughed at the spectacle and muttered, “Man, that’s some racket.” On another occasion, the adviser told me, Trump expressed awe at Joel Osteen’s media empire—particularly the viewership of his televised sermons.
It’s a great piece. Read it in full.