A South Carolina pastor and Donald Trump surrogate who apologized this week after posting a photograph of Hillary Clinton in blackface issued another apology on Friday after CNN revealed that he fabricated many details in his biography.
In a cringe-inducing interview, CNN’s Victor Blackwell pressed Mark Burns to explain inaccuracies in his academic history and military service. Burns, who regularly appears on cable news on behalf of the GOP nominee, first said the incorrect details on his online bio had been “manipulated” by hackers before claiming that the information was simply “extremely old.”
“I had started the process of being a part of that organization,” he explained when Blackwell asked why there was no evidence to back up his bio’s claim that he belonged to the predominantly black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi.
Blackwell pointed to a printout of Burns’ bio from his website, as it appeared when the black televangelist spoke on Trump’s behalf at the Republican National Convention, and asked if it was his.
“It is the bio but this is not an accurate depiction of the bio,” Burns said. “I mean information has obviously been added.”
“Obviously this has been manipulated or either hacked or added,” he claimed.
CNN reported that the website that supports Burns’ site said there was no record of a hack.
Burns also tried to argue that the Army Reserves and National Guard were the same program when Blackwell pointed out that there was no record of the six years he claimed to have served in the South Carolina Army Reserves. They are not.
After Blackwell also pointed out that Burns did not, as he claimed, obtain a bachelor of science from North Greenville University, the pastor said that the entire on-camera interview was off the record.
“I didn’t agree to that,” Blackwell said.
“Yeah, but I did. I did,” Burns replied.
“We’re still rolling,” Blackwell pointed out. “I’m still asking you questions on the record.”
“I’m off the record,” Burns said. “I’m off the record, because I think this is not fair that you—this is not fair at all. This is not what I agreed to. I thought we were doing a profile, and all the sudden you’re here to try and destroy my character.”
Burns abruptly walked out off the interview, which was filmed in his own tiny South Carolina church, after claiming that CNN was trying to take him down because of his opposition to “political correctness.”
“This is extremely, extremely old information,” Burns said.
He later released a statement on Facebook explaining that he “overstated several details” of his biography because he feared he “wouldn’t be taken seriously as a new pastor.”
“This was wrong, I wasn’t truthful then and I have to take full responsibility for my actions,” the statement read.
Burns said that his personal history had only been investigated “because I am a black man supporting Donald Trump for President.”
“It’s a shame that the political insiders and the media choose to attack me because I’m not going to stay silent about Hillary Clinton’s pandering to our community,” he wrote.
Watch the full CNN interview below.