Mark Burns, a South Carolina preacher whom TIME magazine once called Donald Trump’s “most vocal pastor,” riled up Trump loyalists at a rally on the eve of the Capitol insurrection by telling them, “We’re ready to do war!” Burns called the struggle to overturn Joe Biden’s victory a war between good and evil and insisted that Biden would “never” become president. Burns also declared incorrectly that conservatives would win the Georgia Senate runoff elections taking place the same day as the rally.
The Jan. 5 rally held in sight of the Capitol on Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., brought together an array of right-wing figures promoting Christian nationalism, COVID-19 denialism, and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Burns, who spoke more than once, was among many speakers who invoked “1776”—when Americans declared independence from England during the Revolutionary War—as a theme.
Burns declared that the attempt to deny Trump a second term is “a demonic attack from the gates of Hell,” but he assured people of victory, saying that “in the book of Revelations, Jesus wins.”
Burns urged Trump supporters never to abandon the president or let him fight by himself.
Here are some excerpts of Burns’ remarks to the crowd, screamed at full volume:
Aren’t you glad that we elected Donald Trump to be the 45th president of the United States of America?
Listen, we have come here from all over the nation to declare that this is America. And we refuse to let Democrats, liberals, communists, and a socialist government to tread on me. I got somebody to shout, “Don’t tread on me!”
We’re here to serve notice because this is a demonic attack from the gates of ]Hell! But I believe there’s enough patriots in the building today who will declare, “If God be for me, then who can be against me?”
And I believe there’s a war that’s coming. And it’s not a war that is Democrat versus Republican. This is a war that’s between good and evil. And I believe I got some people that are in the building tonight who will never back down, you will never shut up. You will never stop.
And we are here to declare to the whole world, “Give me liberty or give me death?”
Listen. Don’t I got some God-fearing, 1776, Trump-loving patriots in the building tonight?
Listen, I’m Pastor Mark Burns from the great state of South Carolina and I’m going to tell you in South Carolina, we’ve come to this liberal city of Washington, D.C., to serve notice on those race-baiting Democrats to let them know that tonight we are going to win those two Senate seats in the great state of Georgia.Tonight. Tonight.
I said tonight we’re gonna win. We’re taking—we’re gonna save the Senate. Do you believe me? Do I got a witness in the building tonight? We’re gonna save the Senate, because we’ve come and we’re ready to do war. My patriots, they are afraid of Donald J. Trump. They are afraid of him. Because they can’t control him. And they know since they can’t control him, they can’t control you!
I believe this is a war against good versus evil. But I don’t know about you. I’ve already read the book of Revelations. And in the book of Revelations, Jesus wins.
It’s no shock to me how some of the weak Republican congressmen and senators who are not backing the greatest president has ever been elected. But we won’t stand for it, will we? I say we won’t stand for it, will we?
We are gonna make it hell for Joe Biden! Because I believe he won’t be the next president of the United States. Somebody say ,”Never!” Shout, “Never! Not on my watch! Not on my watch!”…
United we stand. … But I believe we won’t be falling tomorrow … because I’m ready to run through a brick wall to save this nation. Are you gonna let Donald Trump fight by himself? Are you gonna let him fight by himself? Are you gonna abandon him when everybody tries to leave him? We will never leave you. Never, never, never, never, never. Somebody say, “Never.” Say, “Never.” Because I’m fired up!
At that point in the speech, the crowd burst into chants of “U-S-A!”
This wasn’t the first time that Burns had called for war. At the 2019 American Priority Conference and Festival, a gathering of the right-wing fringe, Burns told the assembled audience, “We’ve come to declare war!”
These video excerpts of Burns’ remarks are clipped from livestream coverage by Right Side Broadcasting Network, a right-wing network funded by MyPillow guy Mike Lindell.