On the political stump, presidential candidates usually have advance speakers who arrive ahead of them and whose job it is to "warm up" the crowd.
At Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina, on Monday afternoon, that job fell upon Pastor Mark Burns, an African-American pastor who was instrumental in Donald Trump's win in South Carolina. But due to weather conditions that altered the GOP front-runner's flight plan, he was forced to ad-lib a little to pass the time.
During the speech, Burns asked the audience to pray for him as he prepared to appear on CNN later in the afternoon. That transitioned to a defense of Trump from accusations of racism, which then shifted to a discussion about Democrat candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
During that part of his speech, however, Burns said Sanders doesn't believe in God.
"Bernie Sanders, who doesn't believe in God, how in the world we gonna let Bernie—I mean really?" he said. "Listen, Bernie's got to get saved, he has to meet Jesus, he got to have a come-to-Jesus meeting."
By his own admission, Sanders has said he doesn't belong to any particular religion, although he is of Jewish descent. He said he has, however, "very strong religious and spiritual feelings."
"I think everyone believes in God in their own ways," he said in New Hampshire in February. "To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected and that we are all tied together.
"I am what I am. And what I believe in, and what my spirituality is about, is that we're all in this together."
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