Who’s the bizarre Black man seen toting the infamous “BLACKS FOR TRUMP” sign at all of President Donald Trump’s rallies? The guy known as “Michael the Black Man” is back yet again, sparking renewed public interest since his appearance among a crowd of supporters seated directly behind the president at a recent rally in Phoenix, Ariz.
Holding the all-too familiar sign and sporting a T-shirt that read “TRUMP & Republican’s Are Not Racist,” Michael, also known as Michael Symonette, Mikael Israel or Maurice Woodside, was hard to miss among the sea of cheering rally-goers. His routine, yet odd, appearances at such events have sparked a curiosity about him, inspiring everything from social media hashtags to Google searches, according to The Washington Post.
It was during a rally in Sanford, Fla., last October that the then-president-elect gave the “Blacks for Trump” sign a formal shout-out, drawing millions of eyes to the bold-lettered declaration.
“Look at those signs behind me,” Trump said to the cheering crowd. “Blacks for Trump. I like those signs … Those signs are great, thank you.”
But what many — including the Trump campaign — may not know is that Symonette has a strange and turbulent past driven by extreme political views.
In a recent piece, The Washington Post reported that the radical Miami activist once belonged to a violent Black supremacist religious cult and currently runs a handful of unintelligible, outlandish conspiracy websites. He has dubbed former President Barack Obama “The Beast” and described Oprah Winfrey as the devil.
His website God2.com, which he proudly displays on his T-shirt, leads to another site that accuses the Cherokee Indians of being “the real KKK slave masters.”
“Bill Clinton, he’s a Cherokee Indian, you probably already know that,” Symonette said in interview Wednesday, Aug. 23, with Chicago radio station WLS-AM 890. “Even John McCain himself is a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. The men that are blocking President Trump that are in the Republican and Democrat Senate and Congress are all Cherokees and they’re in unity.”
If the conspiracy theories weren’t enough, the station reported that the Miami man was charged, then acquitted, with conspiracy to commit two murders in the 1990s.
Symonette’s love for Trump runs deep, however.
He told WLS-AM 890 hosts John Howell and Ray Stevens that he was the sixth person in line for the president’s rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, Aug. 22, putting himself right behind Trump’s podium.
“When I went in, I just walked up there,” he said, noting that he arrived at the arena at 8 that morning. “I’m glad I was there so I could get the message out [and] tell people what’s going on with Democrats and the Cherokee Indians that are absolutely destroying the Black man and the white man of America.”
Earlier this year, Symonette posted a video of himself at the Mar-a-Lago Club, Trump’s “Winter White House,” for the Republican Party of Palm Beach County’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner, The Washington Post reported. Sporting his trademark “BLACKS FOR TRUMP” shirt and a black dinner coat, he snapped a photo of First Lady Melania Trump and then took a selfie video showing his arm hung over the shoulder of Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
Symonette made his adoration for the president even clearer at Tuesday’s rally. As Trump turned toward the cheering crowd and gave a “yuge” thumbs up, he gave one right back.
Then he cracked a smile and seemingly mouthed the words “I love you.”