When Mike Evans, a prominent Christian Zionist and one of US President Donald Trump’s first high-profile backers in the evangelical community, meets the president Monday as a member of his evangelical advisory board, he will say three words to him: “You are Cyrus.”
Evans – who was responsible during Trump’s visit in May for covering Jerusalem in billboards calling on him to fulfill his promise to move the US Embassy – said on Wednesday that he will congratulate Trump for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the embassy. “And I am going to tell him that he is Cyrus the Great,” he said, “just like Truman.”
Former US president Harry Truman was in office in 1948 and recognized the State of Israel just minutes after it was declared.
Evans also launched a new campaign following Trump’s announcement that he would move the embassy – with a massive “God Bless Trump” spread out on billboards as high as four stories from the bridge in front of the Knesset to downtown Jerusalem.
After leaving office in 1953, Truman was honored by The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. When his good friend and ex-business partner Eddie Jacobson introduced him as someone who “helped create the State of Israel,” Truman corrected him and said, “What do you mean ‘helped to create?’ I am Cyrus.” His reference was to Persian King Cyrus the Great who allowed the Jews – exiled to Babylonia after the destruction of the First Temple – to return to the city to rebuild it.
Trump is the first American president to publicly say Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and tell the State Department to make plans to move the embassy, Evans noted enthusiastically. As such, he said, Trump, too, is Cyrus.
Evans denied being surprised by the announcement. “No, we knew what his plan was,” he said. “I knew that he would give a speech and recognize Jerusalem – he is doing what Israel needs him to do.”
Among the reasons often cited for Trump’s decision to take these steps now is a desire to appeal to his voter base, which includes millions of evangelicals for whom this issue is important.
Evans said Trump did not take this step to “lobby our base,”’ because “he already has the evangelical base.” In fact, Evans said, 36% of Trump’s voters in the last elections were evangelicals, a community that came out to vote in 2016 in record numbers.
But, Evans was asked, if Trump had not fulfilled his pledge to recognize Jerusalem and move the embassy, would he lose those voters in the future?
“Yes, maybe not so much today, but a promise is a promise, and we believe him.”
The president, Evans said, “was elected because of the evangelical vote. Without the evangelical vote he would not have won the presidency – we gave him the presidency. He made a promise to us, and we knew he would keep that promise.”
Trump, he declared, “loves evangelicals, loves God, and loves Israel.”