Trump's speech to 'cult' members heralds 'peace' of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church
Donald Trump in the White House. (vasilis asvestas /

CORRECTION: This story has been updated with additional information, as well as clarification of the relationship between the Unification Church and Sean Moon's Rod of Iron Ministries.

President Donald Trump spoke to members of the Unification Church, at a rally sponsored by Universal Peace Federation, on Sept. 11. The Unification Church is a group which is widely considered to be a "cult" by former members and cult experts.

Business Insider highlighted Trump's recent speech by Hak Ja Han Moon, the widow of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the church. He appeared at the "Rally of Hope" on Sept. 11. The event had nothing to do with the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the US.

"I want to thank the Universal Peace Federation and, in particular, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, a tremendous person, for her incredible work on behalf of peace all over the world," said Trump. "What they have achieved on the peninsula is just amazing. In just a few decades, the inspiration that they have caused for the entire planet is unbelievable, and I congratulate you again and again."

Trump went on to celebrate himself and the "work" he did to legitimize North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

"Looking back today, it's easy to forget how dangerous the situation was when I was elected," Trump said. "Missiles were flying, nuclear weapons were being tested, and powerful threats were being issued every single day."

Trump then claimed that "under my leadership, the United States adopted a policy of unprecedented strength." In reality, Trump caved in to Kim, allowing the leader to appear stronger on the international stage. Trump was even caught saluting a North Korean general, drawing backlash from U.S. leaders. In previous years, Republicans criticized when President Barack Obama bowed back to Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko upon arriving at the Imperial Palace.

Trump's history with Rev. Moon goes back to 1991, when he reportedly considered selling Mar-a-Lago to Reverend Moon. Moon denied the story.

According to former member-turned-cult expert Dr. Steven Hassan, the Unification Church has long-standing ties to the Republican Party. Former Vice Presidents Dick Cheney and Mike Pence have both spoken at their events.

Members of what some have described as an off-shoot organization, The Rod of Iron Ministries, founded by Hak Ja Han Moon and Rev. Sun Myung Moon's youngest son Sean, were also actively involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to news reports.

"Among the groups involved in the insurrection, including the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and loose configurations of Three Percenters, the role of Rod of Iron Ministries as a hub of organizing for the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol has been largely overlooked," wrote Green.

Below is a selection of tweets responding to Trump's speech.