Charisma reported yesterday that Trump-supporting “Pentecostal megachurch pastor” Darrell Scott is being recruited by Republican Party officials to run for Congress in Ohio. Among those listed as encouraging him to run are Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Anthony Scaramucci and Omarosa Manigault-Newman. When NPR asked Scott about Bannon’s white nationalist ties last year, Scott called him a “good guy” and “a friend.”
While Scott says he’s not a politician but a “peopletician,” he says he’s open to a congressional run being the next step in God’s “progressive revelation” for his life. He told Charisma “it’s a strong consideration.”
TIME reported that Scott was among the pastors who met with Trump in 2011 when he was considering a presidential run. This time around, Scott was working to connect Trump to other black pastors back in 2015. Scott was given a speaking spot at the Republican National Convention, where he denounced the Democratic Party and praised Trump as a patriot who would “rebuild the trust” between people and the government. “God bless Donald Trump!” he shouted.
Last year, Scott co-hosted a campaign event for Trump at which he warned of a “concentrated Satanic attack” against the candidate. Scott’s wife said she had dreams in which God showed her that Trump would win. Scott’s co-host was dominionst Frank Amedia, who has since founded POTUS Shield, which is designed to help Trump pave the way for the Second Coming.
Shortly before last year’s election, Scott appeared on The Jim Bakker Show to denounce Hillary Clinton’s support for a “globalist” agenda that he said is “not God’s plan” but “an agenda straight from the enemy.” In a conversation with Charisma’s Steve Strang shortly before the election, he suggested that God might use Trump to lessen America’s involvement in the Middle East and thus bring about the “all-out conflagration” prophesied at the End Times.
Scott was rewarded with a spot on Trump’s transition team.
A Washington Post story from July 2016 reported that only about a hundred people were in attendance for Scott’s sermon at one of two services on the Sunday before the Republican National Convention.
In March last year, The Root’s Jason Johnson spent a week attending Scott’s New Spirit Revival Center just after his public endorsement of Trump; he reported about 200 people in attendance:
Scott’s first sermon after endorsing Trump was one part self-aggrandizing revival and another part self-interview. Like many pastors, he portrayed himself as a man of God being attacked by haters and heathens. He railed against the “liberal media.”
“If I was Muslim, if I was homosexual, the media wouldn’t have a problem with what I was saying,” Scott said. …
With a focus on money, something typical of many prosperity ministers, Scott spoke a lot about Trump’s wealth and was almost giddy talking about flying on Trump’s private jet and the gold-plated seat belts he got to buckle.
When Johnson got a chance to interview Scott, he found that “Scott, even when pressed, never seemed to have a real explanation as to why Trump was the best option for his congregation, or black voters in general.”
When I asked him how he reconciles being a pastor with endorsing a candidate who advocates refusing to allow immigrants into the United States based on their faith, he threw out some GOP talking points that Trump was only supporting a “temporary” ban on Muslims coming into the U.S. In other words, after spending time at Darrell Scott’s church and having a pleasant, lengthy interview with him, I didn’t find much depth to his reasons for supporting Trump, as opposed to any other Republican or Democrat. And even as Trump’s rhetoric and campaign rallies have become more and more violent, Scott has still refused to condemn those actions or to explain how a man who speaks violence to those who disagree with him lines up with a faith that encourages tolerance and loving one’s enemies.
All of this plays into the narrative that Scott’s actions are more about raising his profile and financial gain than concern about politics, his faith or his flock. It would be one thing if Scott were a conservative, but he’s worked to elect Democratic mayors in Cleveland for years. At the same time, when Cleveland pastors rallied at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse on the one-year anniversary of Tamir Rice’s death, Scott was nowhere to be seen. He was at a Trump rally in Georgia. Maybe that’s all we need to know about his politics and priorities.
Johnson reported that during a sermon in which Scott answered his own questions about Trump, he said, “If you’re going to lie to me, at least lie to me about something I want to hear.” To which Johnson presciently observed, “With that kind of attitude, he might be exactly what Donald Trump needs to win the White House.”