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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested in a televised interview Thursday that God may have sent President Donald Trump to Earth to protect Israel.
Pompeo made the remarks in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, or CBN, in Jerusalem, where he visited the Western Wall with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
When the interview turned to Iranian aggression in the Middle East, Pompeo was asked whether he thought "President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace."
"As a Christian, I certainly believe that's possible," Pompeo responded.
Remarking on "the work that our administration's done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains," the secretary of state added: "I am confident that the Lord is at work here."
Thursday is Purim, the holiday that commemorates the rescue of the Jewish people from genocide on the orders of Haman, a minister under the Persian King Xerxes I. The Old Testament Book of Esther relates that Esther, Xerxes' queen, persuaded the king to revoke the order, saving the Jews of the kingdom.
Pompeo made it clear in the CBN interview that his actions and remarks were significantly shaped by his Christian faith, saying that from his service in the Army through his tenure as secretary of state, "the task that I have is informed by my understanding of my faith, my belief in Jesus Christ as the savior."
In a joint news conference with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Pompeo said, "Israel has no better friend than the United States," adding: "These are not just words. This is what we do on a daily basis for the benefit of us both."
Pompeo didn't address Trump's tweet on Thursday that "it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights," the disputed territory that Israel captured from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967.
Netanyahu, who is facing a tough battle for re-election next month, said Trump "has just made history," calling the president's statement "a Purim miracle."