Earlier this month, President Donald Trump sparked widespread uproar after he was spotted signing Bibles while touring tornado-ravaged areas of Alabama. While many patrons will have taken their newly Presidential scriptures home and stuck them on a shelf, one such signed Bible was purported to have been spotted on eBay shortly after attention was brought to the incident in Alabama.
Listing the Bible as having been signed by Donald Trump shortly before his inauguration, the lucky seller received $325 for the item. Now, however, authentication experts are have confirmed that the signature was forged. eBay seller David Flores was the first to spot anomalies in the listing, telling NBC News that “you weren’t hearing about him signing Bibles in 2016.”
After concerns were raised, authentication experts examined the Bible’s signature and concluded that it was indeed fraudulent. “I have taken a close look and compared the book to our authentic exemplary database,” Justin Steffman, the CEO and lead authenticator of AutographCOA.com, told the outlet.
“The signature on the Bible definitely does not appear to be an authentic signature from President Trump. The odds of it being real are zero percent in my opinion.”
What did American Christians think about Trump’s Bible signing?
There was a huge split in opinion regarding the strange optic of watching President Trump pen his enormous signature across the front cover of the holy book.
President Trump signed Bibles today while visiting Beauregard, Alabama —a community devastated by two deadly tornadoes. pic.twitter.com/dueCFABJMh
— Rachel Scott (@rachelvscott) March 8, 2019
A recent poll taken by Morning Consult showed that “nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Christians in the U.S. found it inappropriate when Trump signed the covers of at least two Bible,” according to RNS. In addition, the poll showed that 45% of white evangelicals Protestants, the group that constituted a large proportion of Trump’s support base during the 2016 election, also found the signing “inappropriate.”
Here’s President Trump signing Bibles for Alabama tornado survivors pic.twitter.com/cOYghebZtV
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 8, 2019
Despite it being common practice in the South for preachers and pastors to sign the Bible, according to the poll, most American Christians said it would be “inappropriate for any president (62 percent) or politician (71 percent) to sign the cover of a Bible.”
However, prominent evangelical Ed Stetzer, who is also the executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, tweeted at the time that it was something of a “made up controversy.”
Indeed, subsequent reports indicated that former Presidents such as Ronald Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt also signed Bibles during their time in office, albeit slightly more tastefully — with a spiritual message or an encouragement inscribed on the inside cover.