In an exclusive interview with CBN News, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany got emotional discussing the recent passing of famous Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, someone who made an enormous impact on her with his Christian faith.
"It's a huge loss," McEnany told CBN News. "You know, my dad said to me that Billy Graham was the great evangelist. And I think Ravi Zacharias is the great apologist."
She paused for a moment with tears in her eyes.
When asked where the tears were coming from, she explained further. It goes back to her days developing her faith at Oxford University in England of all places.
"To have someone from an academic place, as an apologist could equip you with those arguments where you didn't have to check your brain at the door when you became a Christian where there is the intellectual foundation for everything we believe," McEnany explained. "There's prophecy. There's the human cell. There's the amazing creation of the human body and all of its complexity and the planet, the universe."
"And he put a philosophical and academic rationale for the heart that I had for Christ, but gave me the ability to go to Oxford, where there are renowned atheist scholars who try to say there's no intellectual undergirding for Christianity," she continued. "Ravi Zacharias, who happened to have an office at Oxford was the person who provided the counter to that, the intelligence behind why we believe what we believe."
READ our FULL CBN NEWS EXCLUSIVE: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Armed for Battle with God on Her Side
McEnany sat down with me at the White House late Tuesday afternoon. It was a wide-ranging discussion that touched on a myriad of topics including her faith, personal journey, God's role in the Trump administration, hydroxychloroquine, Obamagate, media bias, and so much more. A full report aired across the country Wednesday on The 700 Club. Check local listings.
Certain video clips will also move on CBNNews.com. A national profile of the new White House Press secretary will air next Thursday, May 28.
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A FULL TRANSCRIPT of her answer on Ravi Zacharias is BELOW.
MANDATORY COURTESY: CBN NEWS
David Brody: "Can I ask you a personal question about Ravi Zacharias, passing away just in the last 24 hours or so. I know his teachings were so important to you, especially at Oxford, you mentioned this. Can you tell me a little bit about what he meant to you personally and the loss for the Christian community?"
Kayleigh McEnany: "Yeah, it's a huge loss. You know, my dad said to me, that Billy Graham was the great evangelist. And I think Ravi Zacharias is the great apologist..." (she pauses with tears in her eyes).
David Brody: "I know this is tough."
Kayleigh McEnany: "We don't have to cry because we're Christians. So we know he's…"
David Brody: "Yes, we are human the last time I checked. But the tears come from what? What was it because it feels like Oxford and the development of your faith."
Kayleigh McEnany: "Yes. Ravi is someone that I never met. I know his team, and I know some of those who are around him. But, you know, for me as a Christian, I always had the heart for Jesus Christ that I got a very young age. I was saved when I was in my teens, but to have someone from an academic place, as an apologist could equip you with those arguments where you didn't have to check your brain at the door when you became a Christian where there is intellectual foundation for everything we believe; there's prophecy, there's the human cell, there's the amazing creation of the human body and all of its complexity and the planet, the universe and he put a philosophical and academic rationale for the heart that I had for Christ but gave me the ability to go to Oxford, where there are renowned atheist scholars who try to say there's no intellectual undergirding for Christianity. Ravi Zacharias, who happened to have an office at Oxford was the person who provided the counter to that, the intelligence behind why we believe what we believe. And you know, your mind can never get you fully there. It's a place only your heart can take you. But Ravi Zacharias provided those steps to put in the minds of an academic, 'wow, I should give the Christian faith some thought.' Ravi means so much, As I was saying earlier, Billy Graham was the great evangelist. Ravi Zacharias is the great apologist. And, I think the words that were at the very bottom of the announcement today of his passing are so important. He had a verse there and it said, 'because I live, you also will live, John 14:19. ' And they said that these seven words changed Ravi's life, 57 years ago. He was on a bed of suicide as he described it, and it was a Bible that was handed to him and those words in particular, that set him on a 57-year path that has truly saved lives."
"On Sunday I watched a sermon knowing Ravi was in a tough spot and was no longer getting treatment. So I had my daughter on my lap and we were watching the sermon of Ravi and my husband was there. My mother in law was there. And it was a sermon about purpose. And it was a sermon about how every human life has a purpose. You are here for a reason. Every life matters. And it's about finding that purpose. Just hearing him speak and hearing those words was so meaningful. And it was in that sermon, I believe, where he shared the story of a CNN sportscaster who was living a profligate lifestyle and making bad decisions in life but changed his life and found his purpose and found a family and became a Christian and got very sick. And when he was on his deathbed, the CNN sportscaster said that he was just really in search of God and really in search of finding Christ and hearing from Christ as he was about to leave behind his little daughter and he saw a figure that is how he always imagined Jesus Christ would look like. And who he had pictured was Jesus sat on the corner of his bed and said, tonight's not the night you will pass. And he had this distinct moment before he passed. And I'm watching Ravi describe that moment, knowing that he was probably in the next few days coming to his last moment. It changed me once again to hear that and to post the sermon on Twitter and have a user say, 'Wow, I've never given Christianity a thought but having watched what Ravi had to say, I may have to give Christianity a thought.' So Ravi, his life may have ended, but his life continues in then the next life. He is someone I'll meet in heaven and rest assured his legacy will always be here and he will continue to change lives."