During the first of three presidential debates between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, a Hillsong staff member allegedly posted a controversial tweet by mistake. Both the original post and the church’s followup apology were slammed across social media.
A Hillsong staffer reportedly forgot to log out of the church’s Twitter account, posting their personal opinion about President Trump’s behavior during the debate Tuesday evening.
“Can’t they just mute Trump’s microphone!! He’s coming across as such a bully. No respect for him sorry. #PresidentialDebate2020,” the since-deleted tweet said.
Despite the tweet’s removal, a screenshot quickly circulated on social media, drawing concern from several people, including Global Vision Bible Church leader and internet personality Greg Locke.
“Dear Hillsong, that was deleted very quickly. Careful. I sat beside Brian Houston at the RNC acceptance speech at the White House. Your boss secretly likes Trump,” Locke wrote on Twitter, referencing Hillsong founder Brian Houston.
Less than 10 minutes after the original tweet was deleted, Hillsong issued an apology for the mishap.
“Earlier today a staff member accidentally posted on this account personal comments about the U.S. presidential debate that were meant for a personal account,” the tweet reads.
“Hillsong does not comment on partisan politics & apologizes. These comments do not represent the views of Hillsong Church.”
Twitter users were quick to call out the Australian-based megachurch — not for the inadvertent post but for its apology.
“Please don’t be scared of losing the love of your right wing supporters. Do what is right and say in public that Trump is a bully who is not voteable for Christians,” one commenter wrote. “You’ll receive contra, but standing with Jesus is more important than getting the approval of your conservative fans.”
Another commented: “If you can’t name evil for what it is because you’re afraid of offending members who are complicit in that evil, you’ve lost the plot of the gospel.”
Christian writer and progressive advocate Lisa Sharon Harper rebuked Hillsong for its apology and went on to criticize the president herself.
“Trump was an abuser in this debate,” she wrote. “He abused the moderator, [former Vice President Joe Biden], the process and the American people. Silence is complicity. So, are you actually siding with America’s abuser?”
Christian actress Candace Cameron Bure was a little more cavalier in her response to Hillsong’s apology. Rather than voice a strong opinion, the Fuller House star simply tweeted, “Oooof.”