Far-right televangelist Pat Robertson dies at 93
Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson has died at the age of 93, his family announced on Thursday.
Why it matters: The televangelist, who showed surprise strength in the 1988 GOP primaries before endorsing George H.W. Bush, was a central figure in tying evangelical Christians to the Republican Party.
- Robertson used his 1988 campaign to build a huge mailing list of three million, his biographer, Jeffrey K. Hadden, told the AP in 1988.
- ″He asked people to pledge that they’d work for him, pray for him and give him money... Political historians may view it as one of the most ingenious things a candidate ever did.″
- “Robertson’s critics often depict the evangelist-broadcaster as a political extremist with bizarre beliefs,” journalist Garrett Epps wrote in The Washington Post in 1986. “But it may make more sense to view him as the last old-school southern politician.”
The son of a segregationist Democratic senator from Virginia, Robertson failed to pass the bar exam after graduating from Yale, the New York Times notes in his obituary.
- He went on to attend seminary and become a Baptist minister.
The big picture: Robertson's "700 Club" has been broadcast since 1966. The show included many instances that led to backlash, the AP notes.
- 1998: Robertson said Orlando residents should be careful of hurricanes after the city was the site of an annual LGBTQ+ event.
- 2001: Robertson said 9/11 happened because God was angry about American secularization.
- 2005: Robertson said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez should be assassinated.
- 2014: Robertson said you could get AIDS in Kenya from using the towels. (CBN corrected this claim and said he "misspoke.)
The bottom line: Back in 2001, author Michael Lind called Robertson "the most influential figure in American politics in the last decade."