Video Of The All Lives Matter RNC Chant Is Alarming & Divisive — VIDEO
As the final night of the Republican National Convention began, Pastor Mark Burns led the crowd in an RNC chant of "All Lives Matter" to thunderous applause and cheering from the audience.
Pastor Burns, a Trump supporter and regular event-opener for the nominee from Easley, South Carolina, was reportedly added to the schedule by Trump aides just before the convention began in response to the recent spate of police shootings to bring more diversity and messages of unity to the RNC stage. On Monday, Burns gave the RNC’s opening benediction in which he said Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party are the “enemy,” a move heavily criticized for its partisanship by social media users.
Burns is a preacher at the Harvest Praise and Worship Center in Easley, and is the founder of the NOW Network, a Christian network based in South Carolina. In an interview with Bloomberg ahead of his speech, Burns told reporters that delivering messages of unity were his main goal at the RNC.
"We need to talk about coming together as a nation,” Burns said. “I will be talking about unity and love. We must not be focused on our divisions. We are one people. We need unity and love."
Burns’ “All Lives Matter” chant marked the beginning of his speech, which occurred earlier in the primetime segment, ahead of Trump’s.
After meeting with Trump last October, Burns arranged Trump’s infamous meeting with black religious leaders at Trump Tower, after which many of those in attendance declined to endorse the nominee. Despite the disappointing meeting, Burns has sustained his support for the Trump all the way to the convention.
As of late, Burns is one of the most public African-American Trump supporters, but reportedly takes offense to allegations of Trump using him as a token or to pander to black voters.
Despite allegations of Trump’s bigotry, Burns told Fusion that he knows “what real racism is, and it’s not Donald Trump.” All the same, Burns has said that he’s “put on the defensive” from others in his community for supporting Trump amid widespread reports of the candidate’s racism.