Jeffress denies predicting 'actual civil war' over Trump impeachment

Pastor Robert Jeffress on Monday denied predicting a civil war would erupt if President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE was successfully removed from office after being impeached.

"I was not predicting and certainly not advocating an actual civil war," Jeffress said on Todd Starnes's Fox News Radio program, "but what I am saying is this: if President Trump, for whom 63 million Americans voted, if he becomes the first president in history to be actually removed from office I believe that's going to create a long lasting wound in this country, just like the Civil War did."

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Jeffress's original comment on impeachment drew national attention after Trump tweeted it out Sunday.

"If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal," Trump tweeted, quoting Jeffress's appearance on Fox News.

Trump's amplification of the quote to his 65 million followers was met with significant backlash, including from within his own party.

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerLawmakers spar over surveillance flight treaty with Russia Honoring service before self House approves Turkey sanctions in rare bipartisan rebuke of Trump MORE (R-Ill.) tweeted that he had "never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSteyer, Biden clash over climate credentials Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Sanders doubles down on Bolivia 'coup,' few follow suit MORE (D-N.Y.) said that she "truly can think of few things less patriotic, more cowardly, and plainly pathetic + reckless than amplifying calls for civil war within your own country."

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE (D-Calif.) formally launched a Trump impeachment inquiry last week after details emerged of a phone call where Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 presidential candidate, and Biden's son Hunter.