A controversial Black pastor says President Donald Trump called to chide him for apologizing after he shared a 2016 post depicting then-presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in blackface.
Pastor Mark Burns, a vocal supporter of President Trump, made the startling revelation in an interview with The Post and Courier, where she shared details of their phone call.
“Pastor! Who told you to apologize?” Trump reportedly said in the call.
Burns said his apology had initially been requested by Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. He said he was devastated over the incident, convinced his misstep would greatly damage the campaign, according to the newspaper. So, Burns went on TV to apologize — only to be chewed out by the president days later.
“Don’t apologize! We don’t apologize!” Trump allegedly said. “Double down. Tell them you meant to do it.”
Burns heeded the president’s advice and appeared on MSNBC to defend the racially insensitive post.
“I’m standing behind that picture,” the pastor said at the time, arguing that Clinton was only pandering to Black voters. “We as African-Americans, we need to make Democrats fight for our vote. We need to make them fight for us. We need to make them do what they say they’re gonna do, because we’re just as valuable as every race in the great state of the United States of America.”
It was only a matter of time, however, before a CNN report outed Burns as an underqualified pastor who exaggerated details of his biography on a church website. The pastor suffered equal embarrassment after he tried to offer a biblical defense of Trump’s sh*thole comments. In January, MSNBC’s Joy Reid was forced to cut his mic in he middle of a bizarre spiel, where he tried to excuse the president’s racist behavior.
“It’s because of Donald Trump that I became a Republican, learning his principles and learning what the conservative movement really stood for,” he told the The Post and Courier. “He was just such a normal person.”
Burns is currently running for a congressional seat in South Carolina.