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 TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary 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 KinzingerBlagojevich calls himself a 'Trumpocrat,' praises Trump after release from prison Sanders slams Trump pardons as part of 'broken and racist criminal justice system' Illinois GOP House delegation blasts Blagojevich commutation: 'The face of public corruption' 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-CortezOcasio-Cortez cuts census ad with Lin-Manuel Miranda Bill banning menthol in cigarettes divides Democrats, with some seeing racial bias Industry group warns fracking ban could cost 7.5M jobs in US 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 PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — California monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus | Pence taps career official to coordinate response | Dems insist on guardrails for funding Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Hillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment 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.