Pastor Mark Burns, a prominent surrogate for Donald Trump, said he believes his “intentions were honorable” when he posted a cartoon of Hillary Clinton in blackface to his Twitter account Monday afternoon.
During a Tuesday morning appearance on Fox News, Burns acknowledged that “the blackface imagery has been used in the past and it is offensive to African Americans, but my message, I stand behind it.”
He said “the real offense” is that many minority families in America “don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”
Fox News host Martha MacCullum then suggested Burns made a good point with his blackface tweet, saying he “used that blackface, which you explained, to say that you thought that she, in this case, is pandering to black voters.”
MacCullum told Burns she “thought it was interesting” that the media wanted to ask him about “the blackface part” of his tweet, but not “the underlying stuff of what you’re talking about — the violence that exists in our inner cities, the fact that more black people are killed my members of their own black community in our inner cities, that that is the issue that plagues them more than any other.” She then read a quote from Trump before Burns jumped back in and accused liberals of “playing the race card.”
Here’s the tweet Burns posted, which was later deleted from his feed:
“That picture is offensive — it is designed to be offensive and it was designed to capture imaginations to why black people as a mass have been been suffering,” Burns said in a Periscope video where he offered a halfhearted apology for the post. “I am telling all of America, those who I’ve offended, I am so sorry and I pray that you will find it in your heart… that my intent was not to offend anyone.”
— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) August 30, 2016
Burns, a prominent Trump advisor, proponent of the “prosperity gospel,” and the man who delivered what some called the most partisan convention prayer in modern history — struck a very different note hours earlier during an MSNBC appearance where he vehemently stood by the blackface post.
“Yes I am standing behind that picture,” he said on MSNBC. “We need to make Democrats fight for our vote.”
Burns’ case for why African Americans should vote for Trump is basically the same as the one Trump has been making to the largely white audiences that attend his rallies — black people have it bad as it is, so why not vote for Trump and see what happens?
“Black people are Americans, and when Donald Trump talks about jobs, he’s talking to all Americans. When he talks about security, he’s talking to all Americans,” Burns said in his Periscope video.
On MSNBC, Burns said “millions of African Americans are on welfare, [millions] of African Americans are on food stamps… we are not at the promise land that Dr. King spoke about.”
“The problem is we live in a political PC environment… where we go after the African American vote like all of us African Americans are the same,” he added.
Burns, who referred to Democrats as “the enemy” and called on God to “defeat” Clinton during his aforementioned RNC speech, is helping to promote Trump’s upcoming appearance at a predominately black church on Saturday. The New York Times reports that it will be Trump’s first event in front of a predominately black audience in more than a year.
New polling released by Public Policy Polling indicates African Americans aren’t buying what Trump and Burns are selling. According to the poll, Trump’s favorability rating among African Americans is zero percent, with 97 percent viewing him unfavorably and three percent undecided.