South Carolina Pastor Mark Burns, an African-American surrogate for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Monday tweeted a cartoon of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that accuses her of racial pandering and depicts her in blackface.
He posted the cartoon as Trump prepares to take his pitch to African-American voters to Detroit Saturday, where he’ll appear on the Impact Network, a black-owned Christian television network.
The tweet shows Clinton in blackface standing behind a podium with her blue campaign logo on it. She’s clad in a black T-shirt that says "NO HOT SAUCE NO PEACE" and holding a sign that says #@!* THE POLICE.
"I ain’t no ways tired of pandering to African Americans," the text next to Clinton reads.
"Black Americans, THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTES and letting me use you again..See you again in 4 years," Burns says in the tweet, appearing to speak on behalf of Clinton.
Burns, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, apparently removed the tweet and later posted a message apologizing for “my Twit that many found to be offensive.”
But he strongly defended posting the cartoon earlier in the day in an interview on MSNBC.
"The tweet is a frustration that I have as a black man here in America and how I see African-Americans in many cases — not every case but in many cases — are suffering throughout this country and to see how en masse we have been voting for the Democratic Party en masse and yet we have very little to show for it," he said in a phone interview. "It’s a vexation to me to see how the Democratic Party, and especially Hillary Clinton, what I call tap dance for the black vote, get it and then disappear for four more years."
Burns, pastor of the Harvest Praise & Worship Center in Easley, S.C., said he was speaking as an individual when he sent the tweet, not as an African-American advisor and surrogate for Trump.
"This is why we live in a P.C. environment to where you think one person speaks for all," Burns said. "I’m a completely separate individual. I am not Donald Trump. I am Mark Burns from the great state of South Carolina. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president of the United States. I’m speaking as a black man. Donald Trump is not a black man nor is Hillary Clinton a black woman…I am a black man. I am speaking from the perspective of a black man. Who lives in a society where we are at the bottom of the totem pole and yet we are still voting en masse for the policies that are keeping us there."
Sunday evening, Burns issued a statement through Trump’s campaign announcing the candidate’s visit to Detroit.
"With much anticipation and excitement, I'm pleased to announce that Republican Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump will be speaking at the only African American owned and operated national Christian television network, The Impact Network," Burns said in the statement. "Mr. Trump will answer questions that are relevant to the African American community such as education (including HBCUs), unemployment, making our streets safe and creating better opportunities for all. He will then give an address to outline policies that will impact minorities and the disenfranchised in our country."