Trump: "I am Presbyterian Protestant. I go to Marble Collegiate Church"
"I've just had great experiences at church, whether it is Sunday School or whatever it may be."
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he attends a church in Manhattan, but the church released a statement saying the real estate developer is not an “active member.”
“I am Presbyterian Protestant. I go to Marble Collegiate Church,” he told reporters in Greenville, S.C.
Marble Collegiate Church was founded in 1628 and is one of the oldest continuous Protestant denominations in the country. The church is part of the Reformed Church in America denomination and is on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Trump has expressed admiration for Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of the self-help book “The Power of Positive Thinking,” and the pastor at Marble Collegiate Church for 52 years from 1932 until 1984, according to the church website. Peale died in 1993.
“Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking was my pastor,” Trump said Tuesday. “To this day one of the great speakers I’ve seen. You hated to leave church. You hated when the sermon was over. That’s how great he was at Marble Collegiate Church.”
Trump, who previously said he’s never asked God for forgiveness, told reporters he attends church “as often as I can, a lot” and attends different churches since he travels so much.
Following Trump’s announcement, the church released a statement to CNN about his affiliation.
“Donald Trump has had a longstanding history with Marble Collegiate Church, where his parents were for years active members and one of his children was baptized. However, as he indicates, he is a Presbyterian, and is not an active member of Marble,” the statement said.
Trump was born in Queens, where he said he originally went to church.
“The church I was originally with was the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, which is out in Queens,” he said. “I’ve just had great experiences at church, whether it is Sunday School or whatever it may be, but now I go to Marble Collegiate Church.”
The First Presbyterian confirmed to CNN on Friday that Trump attended Sunday School and was confirmed there.
Trump, who says his favorite book is the Bible, is leading the most recent CNN/ORC poll with white evangelical voters.
“At some point I’m going to be meeting with ministers and pastors,” he told reporters Thursday.
Televangelist Paula White is hosting a meeting with Trump and other evangelical leaders in New York City in September, according to the Wall Street Journal.
And Trump previously appeared on White’s television show “Paula White Today” on the Word Network.
White was part of 2007 Senate investigation into abuses of nonprofit status by several megachurch pastors and televangelists. The investigation ended in 2011 with no penalties or findings of wrongdoing.