We all know that Donald Trump is an accomplished liar. The fact-checking site Politifact has rated 53 percent of Trump’s statements they have reviewed as either “False” or “Pants On Fire.” When you add in the number of “Mostly False” statements that number rises to 70 percent. The deeper we get into the campaign, the more we learn about some of Trump’s surrogates and supporters, and we find that some of them are consummate liars in the same league with the man they idolize.
One of those frauds was called out on CNN on Saturday morning. Pastor Mark Burns, one of Trump’s staunchest supporters, probably wishes he had never agreed to sit down and talk to host Victor Blackwell on the weekend edition of New Day.
Burns, who made headlines a few days ago when he tweeted a picture of Hillary Clinton in blackface, had claimed on his church’s website that he served in the Army Reserve and that he had received a bachelor’s degree from North Greenville University. Neither of those claims is true, as he grudgingly admitted to Blackwell.
The segment begins with a profile of Burns, who was virtually unknown before hitching his wagon to Trump. Since then he has been a regular at Trump’s campaign stops — often the lone black person in the room. Then the story turns to how a member of the fraternity Burns claimed to belong to could find no record of anyone named Mark Burns ever being a member of the group.
When Blackwell first confronts Burns about the fraternity, Burns claims that his website had been hacked, with someone adding inaccurate information about him. But the web hosting company says that there was no evidence Burns’ account had been tampered with.
Then Blackwell asks about the claim that Burns had served six years in the Army Reserve. Burns says yes, he served. But the Army says Burns was never on active duty, nor in the Reserves. Burns tries to explain this discrepancy in his story by saying that he was in the National Guard. “It is the Reserves,” he says. “Army National Guard in South Carolina is Reserves.” OK, we’ll cut him just the tiniest bit of slack on that. According to records, he served from 2001-2005, “then just some IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) time until he was completely discharged in 2008.”
Blackwell asks Burns if he attended North Greenville University. Burns says he did. Blackwell then asks Burns if he completed the degree. The pastor replies that he did not. In fact, according to CNN’s report, Burns attended the school for only one semester. Not only did he not complete the degree program, he barely started it.
Blackwell continues, “The bio that’s on your website claims that you earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Did you make that claim?”
That question is met with a stony stare from Burns, who replies by complaining that it was his understanding that the conversation was off the record. “I didn’t agree to that,” Blackwell says.
“But I did,” Burns replies.
Pastor Burns would do well to learn that when talking to a reporter, anything you say is only “off the record” when both parties agree to it.
Then, mustering up his best Trump impersonation, Burns whines that the interview “is not fair at all.” He complains that he thought CNN was doing a profile of him, “and all of a sudden you’re here to try to destroy my character.” Difficult to do to someone who doesn’t have any character.
With all his other arguments exhausted, Burns turns on the media (you knew that was coming, right?). He says that the media is attacking his character in order to silence him, and returns to the claim that his website was hacked. After Blackwell hits him with another false claim, Burns shifts his story to claim the information on his site is “old.”
“Is it old or is it tampered?” Blackwell inquires.
“These are old information. It is extremely old information,” Burns says. A few seconds later, he walks off the set.
The interview was recorded for broadcast on Saturday, and at some point between the taping and airing, Burns apparently had a pang of guilt and admitted that he had exaggerated the details of his biography because he was afraid the members of his church wouldn’t accept him if he told the truth. Then, following that statement he claims he is only getting attacked because he is “a black man supporting Donald Trump.”
It’s not surprising that Trump’s surrogates are exactly the same as him — people of little or no talent who have made themselves out to be something much more than what they really are. It makes perfect sense. Why would someone with actual, tangible accomplishments want to attach their name to the fraud that is Donald Trump?
Here’s the interview, via CNN:
Featured image via CNN/YouTube screen capture