- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Joel Osteen has denied endorsing GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump amid backlash over comments he made during a book tour six months ago.

Rumors that Mr. Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, had endorsed Mr. Trump in the 2016 election started on social media over the weekend and were apparently based on an October appearance on Fox News radio’s “Kilmeade and Friends,” The Blaze reported.

“He’s an incredible communicator and brander,” the pastor said of Mr. Trump at the time. “He’s been a friend of our ministry. He’s a good man.”

Mr. Trump has also expressed support for Mr. Osteen, tweeting in 2013: “Being associated with Joel is my great honor — he is a fantastic man!”

“Doesn’t surprise me that Joel Osteen likes Trump,” blogger Matt Walsh tweeted Monday. “Frauds and apostates tend to stick together.”

Lakewood Church released a statement Monday saying Mr. Osteen has not endorsed Mr. Trump.

“Contrary to the misinformation making the rounds on social media, Pastor Joel Osteen has not endorsed any candidate for President of the United States,” the statement said.

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