WASHINGTON (TND) — Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson known for creating the global Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and his "700 Club" television show has died. He was 93.
His death was announced Thursday by his broadcasting network and no cause was given.
“Pat Robertson, longtime TV host, religious broadcaster, educator, humanitarian, and one-time presidential candidate died at his home in Virginia Beach early Thursday morning. He was 93,” the release said.
Robertson’s enterprises also included Regent University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia Beach; the American Center for Law and Justice, which defends the First Amendment rights of religious people; and Operation Blessing, an international humanitarian organization.
When he moved into politics in 1988 and sought the GOP presidential nomination he brought a huge following with him.
Robertson pioneered a now-common strategy of courting Iowa’s network of evangelical Christian churches, and finished in second place in the Iowa caucuses, ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush.
After losing the presidential election, he started the Christian Coalition in Chesapeake in 1989 by bringing thousands of evangelicals into the electoral process saying it would further his campaign's ideals.
Robertson then took the company global by extending the reach of the ministry's programming to over 150 countries in more than 100 languages through satellite.
He also created the American Center for Law and Justice with a mandate to protect religious freedoms, according to CBN.
"The 700 Club" grew after Robertson hosted a telethon asking 700 viewers for monthly $10 contributions.
Here’s a well-educated person having sophisticated conversations with a wide variety of guests on a wide variety of topics,” said Green, the University of Akron political science professor. “It was with a religious inflection to be sure. But it was an approach that took up everyday concerns.
His guests eventually included several U.S. presidents — Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.
At times, his on-air pronouncements drew criticism.
Some claims from Robertson included the terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, were caused by God, angered by the federal courts, pornography, abortion rights and church-state separation. He also described Islam as a violent religion that wants to “dominate” and “destroy."
After Trump took office, Robertson interviewed the president at the White House. And CBN welcomed Trump advisers, such as Kellyanne Conway, as guests.
But after President Trump lost to Joe Biden in 2020, Robertson said Trump was living in an “alternate reality” and should “move on,” news outlets reported.
His son, Gordon, took over the weekday show in 2021 as Robertson remained chairman of the network and continued to appear on the "700 Club."
Robertson also wrote 15 books, including “The Turning Tide” and “The New World Order.”
His wife Dede, who was a founding board member of CBN, died last year at the age of 94. The couple had four children, 14 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, CBN said in a statement.
Editor's note: The Associated Press contributed to this article.