An Upstate South Carolina pastor who repeatedly referenced “war” during a pro-President Donald Trump conference said his remarks meant to conjure up support for conservative values.
Mark Burns was speaking at the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Florida last weekend when he repeatedly told the audience, “We’ve come to declare war,” according to an audio recording on the WNYC website.
That’s when the energetic crowd repeatedly chanted, “War,” the radio station and ProPublica report.
“Do I have anybody who is ready to go to war for Donald J. Trump, for this nation?” Burns continued in the speech, according to the news outlets.
The speech comes after Trump has made comments that seem to condone violence against others, ABC News reports.
But Burns says he wasn’t pushing violence when he spoke about “war,” according to The Greenville News.
“Yes, we are ready to go to War to support our President @realDonaldTrump,” the pastor wrote Tuesday on Twitter. “War means be more vocal in our support for our conservative values.”
Burns leads The Harvest Praise & Worship Center in Easley, roughly 13 miles west of Greenville, according to the church’s Facebook page. He also helped launch the NOW Television Network for Christian audiences and spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention, according to his website and news reports.
His website says “Mark Burns U.S. Congress” and outlines a platform, but it doesn’t give further campaign details. A phone number listed on the homepage was disconnected.
After rallying the Florida crowd, Burns has contemplated being more careful about what he says, he told The Greenville News.
“’I may be a little more selective,’” in order to avoid taking the focus off his main message of support for the president,” the newspaper reports.
The meeting, American Priority Festival and Conference, gained attention after screening a video meme showing the president shooting political rivals and media outlets, the Miami Herald reported.