Mark Burns, a Black pastor from South Carolina, recently announced he’ll be running for U.S. House as a typical arch-conservative MAGA cultist candidate. That alone isn’t shocking.
But since the Christian Post won’t tell you the most relevant part of his resume, I’ll do that here.
Burns, for those who aren’t familiar with him, is a pastor who delivered an angry prayer at the Republican National Convention in 2016, calling on God to help “defeat the liberal Democratic Party.” He said in a rally that year that Bernie Sanders “doesn’t believe in God,” adding, “Bernie gotta get saved. He gotta meet Jesus… He gotta have a ‘coming to Jesus’ meeting.” He also tweeted a cartoon of Hillary Clinton in blackface.
None of that, however, was as bad as what happened next. Burns had claimed on his church’s website that he earned a Bachelor of Science degree, was working on an advanced degree at a seminary, and spent six years serving in the Army Reserve. But CNN quickly found out those were all lies… and called him out on them during an interview.
Burns… was never in the Army Reserve. He was in the South Carolina National Guard, from which he was discharged in 2008, CNN found.
As far as a Bachelor’s degree, North Greenville University told CNN he only attended the school for one semester. Burns admitted that he did not finish his degree when CNN asked him about it.
When CNN confronted Burns about the various professional and social exaggerations he had featured on his biography, Burns first said the page had “obviously” been either “manipulated or either hacked or added.”
But the site host, Wix, said there was no evidence of a hack.
In the video, Burns kept promoting the lies until the reporter directly called him out on them, one by one, at which point Burns’ story quickly changed. At one point, there was just a long awkward pause before Burns said he thought the conversation was off the record… which it wasn’t.
And then, just as Trump always does when confronted by facts that don’t make him look good, Burns blamed the reporter for being part of a media machine out to get him for not being “politically correct” and trying to “destroy” his character. He walked out of the interview to avoid further embarrassment.
It wasn’t until well after the interview that Burns issued a statement contradicting the notion that his website was hacked:
“As a young man starting my church in Greenville, South Carolina, I overstated several details of my biography because I was worried I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a new pastor. This was wrong, I wasn’t truthful then and I have to take full responsibility for my actions,” Burns’ statement reads.
He never did that. Burns continued defending Trump on TV — even appearing on CNN in 2018. He defended Trump’s infamous “both sides” comment.
And now, he’s using his reputation as a Trump supporter to launch a Congressional campaign because he knows Republicans don’t care about lies and that his background as a MAGA cultist and pastor is more than enough to win over GOP voters who will never do any real research into his past.
In case you’re wondering, South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District is currently represented by GOP Rep. William Timmons, who comfortably won re-election in 2020 with over 60% of the vote and will presumably run again. Burns ran for that same seat in 2018, where he took 8th in the GOP primary.