A Florida pastor and conservative radio host who endorsed Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination is a vocal Sandy Hook truther, according to reports surfaced Tuesday by Media Matters.
The Trump campaign said in a Jan. 13 press release that it was an “honor” to receive endorsements from “prominent community leaders” including Carl Gallups, who gave the invocation at a Trump campaign rally in Pensacola that same day. Gallups is a senior pastor of Milton, Florida’s Hickory Hammock Baptist Church and host of WEBY’s “Freedom Friday Radio.”
In the ensuing weeks, a site founded by Gallups has shared multiple articles dismissing the 2012 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut as a “scam.” The posts on PPSimmons News & Ministry Network argue that the shooting was an elaborately staged “gun-grab HOAX” carried out by the federal government to facilitate the confiscation of Americans’ firearms. Twenty children and six adults were killed that day.
Gallups hosted the author of the posts, who goes by the pen name “Barry Soetoro, Esq.,” on “Freedom Friday Radio” on March 5 to elaborate on his theory that the parents of one Sandy Hook victim are actors.
“This guy and his so-called wife they’re standing up there and they’re grieving and, you know, ‘My child, my child,'” Gallups said of David and Francine Wheeler, whose 6-year-old son Benjamin was killed in the shooting. “And, ‘We gotta take guns, you gotta get the guns.’ And that was what the whole thing is about.”
“But in the meantime, Barry has uncovered the fact that this dude is a Hollywood actor, his so-called wife is a Hollywood actor,” Gallups continued. “And then he found footage, television footage of this guy at Sandy Hook in an FBI SWAT team outfit—it’s the same dude, folks. When you look at—there is no denying it.”
The “Freedom Friday” host previously has claimed to have “evidence” that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
In an interview with the Associated Press published Monday, Gallups said he was voting for Trump in Florida’s March 15 primary because he was a “realist.”