WASHINGTON — Outspoken Trump supporter and televangelist pastor Mark Burns is running for Rep. Trey Gowdy’s seat in South Carolina's conservative-leaning 4th Congressional District, his campaign announced in a video late Thursday night.
A narrator calls Burns an "emerging force in the conservative movement" and signals that his candidacy will hinge heavily on his close relationship to President Donald Trump.
Burns has yet to present a policy platform, but has hewed closely to Trump on immigration and support for law enforcement in the past. And in the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, this week, Burns tweeted that the U.S. should federalize security in public schools, likening it to the Transportation Security Administration.
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Burns was an early supporter of Trump’s, rising to national prominence as one of his most outspoken African-American defenders during the 2016 election.
He's continued to defend Trump as president, earning tweets of support from him for sparring with cable news hosts and even swatting down spiders that might seek to harm Trump in the Oval Office, something Burns told NBC News he did during a recent gathering at the White House.
Burns was most recently at the White House this week for a reception in honor of Black History Month.
.@pastormarkburns You were great last night and we all very much appreciate it! Thank you!
He appeared with Trump at campaign rallies throughout the primaries and general election, especially in South Carolina. Burns also gave a fiery address at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, advocating that "all lives matter" and leading the convention floor in prayers to give Trump "the words to unite this party, this country, that we together can defeat the liberal Democratic Party."
While much of Burns' TV time has been spent defending the president, he has not been without his own controversies.
In the heat of the 2016 campaign Burns tweeted, then deleted and apologized for a controversial tweet that showed Clinton in blackface with a caption that asserted she used "Black Americans" for votes during election years.