Many across the country—and around the world—think they know who Donald Trump is.
Whether they love him or hate him, want to re-elect him or impeach him, award-winning journalist and author Stephen E. Strang says President Trump is a complicated personality who has some endearing traits most of the general public know nothing about.
Strang is preparing to debut his newest book, God, Trump, and the 2020 Election which will be released by FrontLine, an imprint of Charisma House, on Jan. 14, 2020. Throughout the new book, Strang touches upon breaking presidential news, including interviews with faith leaders who predicted the mass resistance against Trump along with the current impeachment headlines.
Strang’s insight comes from his personal connections with the president.
“Those who know Trump personally say that behind the bombastic persona portrayed in the media is a genuinely nice man who cares about people and who generates fierce loyalty from others as a result,” Strang writes in God, Trump, and the 2020 Election.
“That’s what struck me when I interviewed him in August 2016 for Charisma Magazine. I expected him to be a pompous celebrity who was running for president. Instead I found him to be soft-spoken and respectful.”
Strang remembers that when he interviewed President George W. Bush in 2004 with some other journalists, it seemed the president was eager to move on to his next appointment.
“Not so with Trump,” Strang recalls. “He focused on my interview. He even offered me a bottle of water—something he didn’t need to do, but it showed me he was a nice guy.”
While other presidents wanted to get Evangelicals’ support at election time but kept them at arm’s length the rest of the time, Trump has done the opposite. The president and First Lady Melania did something no other president has done—they honored the Evangelical community by hosting a state dinner in August 2018. Calling America “a nation of believers,” Trump said he hosted the event to “celebrate America’s heritage of faith, family and freedom.”
Coming from the world of business and real estate, Trump was not familiar with the language and customs of the Evangelical community when he entered the White House, Strang notes. But through his friendships with Evangelical leaders such as Paula White Cain, James Robison, Dr. Robert Jeffress and others, he also gained a deeper appreciation for the concerns of the millions of Evangelical voters who, when faced with a choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton, gave him the critical margin he needed for victory.
“That appreciation turned into action,” Strang writes. “During the campaign, Trump began assembling an advisory board of faith leaders with whom he could meet from time to time and who would be available by telephone to offer insight on issues of concern to the churches. Then, in mid-July 2017, he invited a group of two dozen Evangelical leaders to meet with him for a few minutes in the Oval Office before a daylong listening session with the Office of Public Liaison (OPL). As CBN reported, the group discussed a wide variety of issues with the OPL, focusing especially on religious liberty, criminal justice reform and America’s support for the nation of Israel.
“As I interviewed Evangelical leaders,” Strang adds. “I began to notice a theme. Many Americans—including me—did not like Trump initially but began to like him when they got to know him. Trump is who he is. And despite being portrayed as a buffoon, he has become not only presidential but a statesman, exceeding most people’s expectations.”
For example, early in his presidency, on one of his first overseas trip as commander in chief, Trump attended the G20 summit in Germany. The press emphasized how unpopular he was with other heads of state and predicted he would be marginalized. Instead a photo was taken of him surrounded by America’s closest allies, who were hanging on his every word.
“Unless you just wanted to ignore the facts, it became clear early, as we look at the life of this man, that he is an extraordinary and remarkably capable individual,” Strang says. “He hardly sleeps. His aides can barely keep up with him. He has never smoked, he doesn’t drink alcohol, and he has never used drugs. He is driven to achieve great things, to build great buildings, and he is determined to keep America great. These are not small ambitions, and he is not a small man by any measure. He towers over almost everyone, and he is the center of attention whenever he enters the room. Yes, he’s passionate, he’s outspoken, and he’s a dynamic achiever. But he is also smart, sincere and a man of faith.”
During Strang’s interview with Trump in 2016, he asked him about his child-rearing priorities and his secret of having such a close relationship with his children and their obvious respect for him. Trump relayed to the author that he worked hard to rear them right, including telling them: “No drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes.” In fact, many have commented that one of the best endorsements of Trump is the character of his children, who have supported their father every step of the way.
Trump’s standing as a statesman may be what history remembers him for, but to find out what the man is like now, Strang also interviews many of Trump’s close friends in “God, Trump, and the 2020 Election.” They reported to the author that Trump has a great sense of humor, and he’s a good family man, protective of his wife—not only a beautiful model but a smart businesswoman in her own right who speaks five languages and is a phenomenal mother—and his children.
Others told Strang that many are not aware of Trump’s attention to detail and his compassion.
“Personally, one of my first memories of Trump in the news was when the Wollman Rink in Central Park had fallen into disrepair,” Strang writes. “In 1980, they estimated it would take two years to fix. Six years later, after wasting almost $13 million dollars, a 39-nine-year-old Trump said he could fix it for no profit and have it up in time for the next winter, six months away. Instead he finished in four months and 25% below budget, even after Mayor Ed Koch tried to torpedo the project because Trump made the city look incompetent.”
“Under budget” and “before deadline” are business ideals Trump has carried through to his presidency, Strang says. About the skating rink, Trump said at the time it wasn’t rocket science, rather common sense and “management”—an example of how he focuses on the details of getting a job done.
Trump’s friends also told Strang he goes out of his way to know people’s names—such as George, the man who sells hot dogs outside Trump Tower, or his employees, many of whom stay with him for years.
“He’s also a man of integrity,” Strang writes in the new book. “If he gives his word for something or has a handshake agreement, he will follow through, even if his close associates try to convince him after the fact that it was a bad deal and he should walk away. More than that, Trump is a visionary, which should be obvious since he has said many times that he took one million dollars his father gave him to get started and parlayed that billions.
“Trump is clearly a man of principle,” he continues. “But the thing I like about him is how he has disrupted the status quo—not only the push to the Left by the liberal establishment but also what we now call the deep state and the Republican establishment. Maybe that is why he hasn’t seemed to age while he’s been in office. It seems most presidents—even Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama, who were a decade or two younger than Trump when they became president—seemed to age 10 years right away. Maybe one of the keys is that Trump has held on to things that are important to him that bring him tremendous peace and joy.”
Perhaps most importantly, friends say that Trump’s faith motivates him in many ways, from his generous donations to many charities to his consideration of a person who fainted at one of his rallies, which happened in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. When an elderly woman fainted, Trump stopped the event for about 10 minutes until medical personnel could help her. Meanwhile, the crowd spontaneously broke into “Amazing Grace” during the wait, and afterward, Trump made calls to check on the woman.
“The president clearly knows his own mind and doesn’t let the opinions, criticisms and outright attacks of others sway him from his chosen path,” Strang concludes. “Perhaps it’s because he senses a calling and purpose in his life that are higher than human aspirations and achievements.”
Stephen E. Strang is an award-winning journalist and successful businessman. After interviewing Donald Trump, Strang was involved with other Christian leaders who campaigned for Trump’s election. Strang also attended the 2017 election night victory party in New York. Strang is CEO of Charisma Media and founder of Charisma magazine.