South Carolina pastor John Gray is one of the pastors who met with President Donald Trump this week, giving the president a controversial photo-op with leaders of the black community.
Gray has faced some backlash since going to the White House, and been questioned by his own congregation on the matter. He’s called on Martin Luther King Jr.’s wisdom that “we cannot influence a table that we are not seated at.”
On Thursday night, the pastor appeared on CNN with Don Lemon, who asked the pastor if he was “used as a prop.”
“Do you think this president is responsible for hate in the nation’s discourse now?” Lemon asked.
“I believe that our president has fostered a culture and climate that has allowed for what was there and has been there for years to bubble up,” he said. “It has empowered people in a horrific way. Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any question about it.”
Lemon brought up the subject of black Americans being introduced to Christianity during slavery.
Lemon got a little emotional as he questioned Gray.
“Look, I’m a person of faith,” Lemon said. “He said there is a reason that people would teach you about the Bible, would let you congregate on the plantation but would not allow you to read. Do you understand the meaning of that? …It means they believe that religion keeps people in chains and that fighting back and saying I’m not going to deal with this, turning the other cheek, because they don’t want you to leave the plantation.”
‘I don’t know how Secretary Pompeo is not dragged in’: Ex-FBI counsel says Secretary of State must testify
On Monday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," former FBI general counsel James Baker told Chris Cuomo that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has to answer for the allegations laid out in the impeachment testimony.
"They wanted to give [Ukraine Ambassador Marie] Yovanovitch support, she asked them for support, they decided no, maybe because they thought the president would jump all over them. So what?" said Cuomo.
"The issue with her is that they wanted to and were inclined to get her out of the way, unless she was willing to play ball, unless she was willing to acquiesce in this sort of irregular channel and the goals of the irregular channel that Ambassador Taylor described," said Baker. "They were going to either get her out of the way, or have her join the team. This is what it seems to me was going on. They were trying to achieve these other objectives and they were going to either do it by forcing the career people to go along and compromise their values, quite frankly, or they were going to do it through the Giuliani channel."
Trump’s ‘thuggish’ demands his aides lie for him blasted by CNN analyst: ‘The president operates like he’s a king’
On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN analyst Kirsten Powers blasted President Donald Trump for his "thuggish" insistence that his aides help him conceal his own wrongdoing.
"Kirsten, it will be interesting to see how the president decides to conduct himself this week, whether or not, you know, he continues to tweet against witnesses or about witnesses as they are testifying," said Cooper.
"Yeah. Why wouldn't he keep doing what he always does?" said Powers. "He seems incapable of not doing that. And I do think this moving people, punishing people, right, for testifying under oath and telling the truth, I think it's thuggish. It really is. It's beyond inappropriate, in the sense that the president operates like he's a king, basically. Like these people are supposed to go up there and lie. They've been called before Congress. They're telling the truth. They should not be punished for that. They work for the U.S. government, which is something that is actually bigger than Donald Trump."
GOP lawmakers are ‘shaken’ by State Department aide’s testimony — and dread what he’ll say on Wednesday: CNN
On Monday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," correspondent Jamie Gangel told anchor Erin Burnett that Republican lawmakers were shocked at what State Department official David Holmes revealed in the impeachment investigation — and fear that his public testimony on Wednesday could be even more damaging.
"This is your reporting, 'shaken' is the word you are using of how some Republicans feel about David Holmes' testimony," said Burnett. "What are you hearing?"
"What we're hearing is, according to one congressional GOP source, several GOP lawmakers were, quote, 'more shaken by David Holmes' testimony than they have publicly let on,' that behind closed doors they expressed a lot of frustration about Sondland's testimony in light of what David Holmes said," said Gangel. "We're also hearing that they're now very worried about Sondland's testimony. We've been told by multiple sources that he was ill-fitted to being a diplomat, that multiple sources in the diplomatic community thought that he was in over his head, and they're really worried about what he's going to say on Wednesday and how far he will go."