Newswire : The real story behind that ‘Blacks for Trump’ guy at the Arizona rally

Maurice Symonette pushes wild conspiracy theories and once followed a killer cult leader.

By Nina Golgowski, Huffington Post
Blacks for Trump.jpg

Black man with sign and T-shirt at Arizona rally

Waving a “Blacks for Trump” sign behind President Donald Trump on Tuesday night, he was impossible to miss. Maurice Symonette, who has also called himself “Michael the Black Man” and Maurice Woodside, was an eye-catching figure during the rally in Phoenix. Trump supporters lauded him on social media for his T-shirt reading “Trump & Republicans Are Not Racist.”
Perhaps they should have checked him out first.
Between his signs and his shirt that night, Symonette was also showcasing two websites: and Click on either and you’ll be taken to, which spews a range of rambling conspiracy theories.
One claims to link Hillary Clinton with the Islamic State and the criminal gang MS-13. Another declares that “Cherokees are the real KKK Racist Slave Masters, not White Gentiles who are Black Peoples Republican Emancipators!”
Symonette has uploaded a number of long-winded videos on YouTube, often as “Michael the Black Man.” There he discusses his theories on race wars involving Democrats, gentiles, Canaanites and the Cherokee.
Speaking to a Chicago radio station on Wednesday, Symonette said that he arrived early at the Phoenix rally and that allowed him to secure a prominent place close behind the president.
“I wasn’t placed [behind Trump], I put myself there,” he told WLS-AM 890. “I’m glad I was there so I could get the message out, tell people what’s going on with Democrats and the Cherokee Indians that are absolutely destroying the black man and the white man of America.”
When the radio hosts expressed surprise that he would get such a coveted seat, Symonette added, “I don’t really know how it works. They have seen me a lot of times.”
Photos posted online certainly support that statement. Symonette’s Facebook page shows pictures of him posing with a number of high-profile Republican politicians and Trump supporters, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr. There are also videos of him at a rally with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and celebrating with Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway outside what appears to be Trump Tower in New York City.
And last year, the Miami New Times reported that Symonette and his signs had scored prime seating at more than one Trump rally in Florida.
Symonette has popped up in a number of mugshots as well. His rap sheet lists arrests for racketeering, firebombing, conspiracy in 14 murders, and grand theft auto, the New Times reported in 2011. None of the charges stuck, however.

In the early 1990s, Symonette, who then went by the name of Maurice Woodside, was arrested along with other members of an African-American cult called the Temple of Love, the New Times reported. Its leader, Yahweh ben Yahweh (formerly known as Hulon Mitchell Jr.), was later sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for conspiring to commit murder. Symonette was acquitted.
During Wednesday’s radio interview, Symonette defended Yahweh ben Yahweh as “not violent.” He had told the New Times that he was 21 when he met the Temple of Love leader and became enthralled by the man’s preachings. “He got me by just walking up and saying, ‘All white people are the Devil,’” Symonette recalled. “I was a real militant race warrior right then, so I said, ‘Whoa! Yeah, that’s right!’”
Symonette has said he started following Yahweh ben Yahweh, after the cult leader came up to him and declared “all white people are the Devil.”
Symonette’s views have changed over the years. Long after Yahweh ben Yahweh went to prison, his former follower started participating in political protests against Barack Obama. In 2008, Symonette reportedly claimed that then-Sen. Obama had tried to have him assassinated.
Last year, he tried to paint Hillary Clinton as the presidential candidate who was too close to racists, by accusing her of once “kissing the head of the Ku Klux Klan” and saying, “That’s my mentor.” The trouble with that conspiracy theory was that the man Clinton greeted was the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who by the time she praised him had long since evolved from a one-time member of the KKK to a strong supporter of advancing civil rights.

Newswire : President Obama’s policies still drive economic growth

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

Former President Barack Obama
In May of 2017, the Black unemployment rate hit its lowest level in 17 years: 7.5 percent. Then, in June, the jobless rate for Blacks fell to 7.1 percent, before rising to 7.4 percent in July, according to the latest jobs report.
The jobs numbers over the last six months have generally been impressive. It’s fascinating to note that, suddenly, all the accusations that low jobs numbers were “fake” when President Barack Obama was in office have suddenly vanished.
The Black unemployment rate hit 16.7 percent in September 2011—the highest Black unemployment since Ronald Reagan was in office pushing “trickle down” economics. Overall, the Black unemployment numbers were higher, on average, under President Obama than President George W. Bush or President Bill Clinton.
The 30 year-high for Black joblessness in late 2011 prompted members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to embark on an August 2011 jobs tour. That same year, President Obama barked at members of the CBC at their annual gala to “put on your marching shoes…and stop whining and complaining.”
The Black unemployment rate, in general, was lower under President George W. Bush than it was under President Obama. Economists agree that the high jobless numbers, under President Obama, were largely driven by the economic downturn known as the Great Recession. Now, Obama’s economic policies are continuing to bear fruit during Trump’s first six months as the Black jobless numbers improve.
Black unemployment still remains double than it is for Whites. July’s numbers showed Black unemployment at 7.4 percent, Hispanics at 5.1 percent and Whites at 3.8.
In 2013, AFL-CIO Chief economist Bill Spriggs wrote: “A big puzzle in looking at the changes in the Black unemployment rate is the fact the Black labor force is older now than during past major downturns in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. In 1975, the Black unemployment rate spiked to 15.4 percent. In 1982 and 1983, the Black unemployment rate skyrocketed to above 20 percent for a nine-month period starting in October 1982.”
Several political observers pointed out that many jobs being added to the U.S. economy are in the service sector, such as restaurants and healthcare. “Ensuring workers have better jobs and better wages also means they should be trained with the tools they need to succeed in our economy,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) the top Democrat on the Education & Workforce Committee in the House, in a statement on August 4.
The economy added 209,000 jobs in July.
Though the reasons for rising and falling Black unemployment over the last six months are not clear, it is clear that the current numbers reflect Obama’s economic policies; President Donald Trump has yet to implement any economic strategy and his proposed budget won’t take effect until next year, at the earliest. Additionally, Congress has passed nothing related to the economy regarding taxes or jobs.



Newswire : Black police executives reject Trump’s encouragement to rough up suspects

By Hazel Trice Edney

assistant chief perry tarrant - noble

Assistant Police Chief Perry Tarrant, surrounded by members of NOBLE. PHOTO: NOBLE website.
( – The Nation’s premier association of Black police executives – convening in Atlanta this week – has responded to rogue statements made by President Donald Trump encouraging police officers to “please, don’t be too nice” to suspects being arrested for violent crimes.
Speaking to law enforcement officials in Ronkonkoma, N. Y. about the brutal MS-13 gang, Trump said, “And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough – I said, please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody – don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”
Many of the officers laughed and even applauded the comments. The White House has since attempted to downplay the statements claiming the President was only joking. But, his words caused chills for those recalling the string of police brutality cases across the nation that resulted in the deaths of Black people. Those cases include that of Baltimore’s Freddie Gray who died after a police paddy wagon ride that somehow led to a broken neck two years ago. The Freddie Gray case resulted in an uprising that included fires, millions of dollars in property damage and hundreds of arrests.
In a statement issued to the Trice Edney News Wire, Perry Tarrant, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), reasserted principles to which all police officers must adhere when making an arrest – regardless of the charge.
“As NOBLE convenes its 41st Annual Training Conference in Atlanta, it reminds the nation of one of the bedrock’s of our democracy, equal protection under the law. All law enforcement officers play a critical role in determining the appropriate levels of use of force as they police communities across this nation,” Tarrant said. “As NOBLE continues its efforts to build one community (law enforcement is part of the community), we must always be vigilant in ensuring that the human rights of those in custody and/or suspected of crimes are protected.”
Trump’s statement was made during a season in which the clearly unwarranted killings of Black people by police have wreaked havoc across the nation. Mike Brown of Ferguson, Mo., Philando Castile of Falcon Heights, Minn., Eric Garner of Staton Island, N.Y., and Tamir Rice of Cleveland, Ohio are just a few of the dead who have become iconic cases for police brutality in America.
Tarrant, elected NOBLE president last year, is well acquainted with the historic conflicts between police and the Black community. Upon his rise to the NOBLE presidency last year, he cited the need for trust and conversation between police and community.
Tarrant currently serves as assistant chief of the Special Operations Bureau for the Seattle Police Department. He spent 34 years with the Tucson, Ariz., Police Department, where he worked in patrol, the K-9 unit, SWAT team, bomb squad, aviation and internal affairs.
For 41 years, NOBLE has described itself as “the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action.” The organization represents “3,000 members internationally, who are primarily African-American chief executive officers of law enforcement agencies at federal, state, county and municipal levels, other law enforcement administrators, and criminal justice practitioners.”
In addition to NOBLE, a string of police bureaus and organizations across the nation publicly distanced themselves from the statements by Trump.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) also issued a statement saying, “Managing use of force is one of the most difficult challenges faced by law enforcement agencies. The ability of law enforcement officers to enforce the law, protect the public, and guard their own safety, the safety of innocent bystanders, and even those suspected or apprehended for criminal activity is very challenging. For these reasons, law enforcement agencies develop policies and procedures, as well as conduct extensive training, to ensure that any use of force is carefully applied and objectively reasonable considering the situation confronted by the officers.
The IACP concluded, “Law enforcement officers are trained to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect. This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy.

Newswire : Congressional Black Caucus declines follow-up meeting with Trump

By: Jacqueline Alemany, CBS News

Black Cong. Caucus.jpgMeeting of President Donald Trump with members of the Black Congressional Caucus
WASHINGTON — The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has rejected the invitation to meet with President Trump for a follow up meeting at the White House, according to a letter released by the chair of the committee, Cedric Richmond, on Wednesday.
Citing actions by the Trump administration “that will affirmatively hurt black communities,” Richmond wrote that concerns discussed during a preliminary meeting with Mr. Trump on March 22 “fell on deaf ears.”
· Trump asks black reporter to “set up the meeting” with Congressional Black Caucus
“Given the lack of response to any of the many concerns we have raised with you and your administration, we decline your invitation for all 49 members of the Congressional Black Caucus to meet with you,” Richmond said.
“I fail to see how a social gathering would benefit the policies we advocate for,” Richmond added.
Mr. Trump’s extended an invitation to the 49 members of the CBC to return to the White House for a follow up meeting on June 9th, first reported by CBS News last week.
Manigault, whose official title is Assistant to the President and Director of Communications of the Office of Public Liaison, was ridiculed on Twitter for signing the letter as “The Honorable Omarosa Manigault.”
In response to one Twitter user who asked if she had received a promotion, Manigault tweeted out a screenshot of a guide for “departmental correspondence” that recommends addressing an assistant to the president as “Honorable” in a letter.
However, an article by The Washington Post points to the Emily Post Institute of Etiquette which states that “the honorific is reserved for “the President, the Vice President, United States senators and congressmen, Cabinet members, all federal judges, ministers plenipotentiary, ambassadors, and governors,” who get to use the title for life.”
The CBC has been skeptical of Manigault’s role as an advocate for the black community in the Trump White House and her self-publicized degree of influence. A CBC source told CBS News that the group was not interested in what they predicted would be another “photo-op.”
Richmond specifically lists several efforts by the administration that would “devastate” the African American community, including
Mr. Trump’s 2018 fiscal budget, Attorney General Jeff Sessions plan to “accelerate the failed war on drugs,” cuts to funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the “effort to dismantle our nation’s health care system.”
Sources say that the CBC is not completely united in the decision to reject Mr. Trump’s invitation for a meeting.
In March, the Vice Chair of the CBC Gwen Moore told CBS News that refusing to engage with the President was a “luxury” that she did not have.
“We don’t have the luxury of saying we won’t meet with the president of the U.S.,” she said at the time. “We have 1,399 more days left in his presidency and I don’t think that our communities would be served well by our not engaging.”

Black organizations, lawmakers slam Trump budget

By Barrington M. Salmon

Cong. Cedric Richmond
CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.)
( – President Donald Trump has unveiled his 2018 budget to resounding criticism and derision from a range of critics, including the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the US Black Chamber Inc., policymakers, pundits, and other Congressional lawmakers.
“President Trump’s budget is based on the ill-advised idea that the poor can pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” says CBC Chair Rep. Cedrick Richmond (D-La.). “The truth is that some folks don’t have boots and tax cuts for the wealthy won’t help them buy a pair. A budget that threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans who, through no fault of their own, depend on social safety net and other federal programs, will not make America great again.”
Richmond is among African-American politicians, civil rights advocates and academicians and political experts who contend that the budget, if enacted, would unduly affect blacks, people of color, the poor and the vulnerable.
The budget reveals the administration’s fiscal priorities and includes extreme cuts in spending in education, food stamps, Medicaid, access to student loans, nutritional assistance, small business and the environment. Over the next 10 years, the proposed budget would strip more than $800 billion from Medicaid and $272 billion over all from welfare programs. Meanwhile, domestic programs would see funding reduced by $57 billion.
The largest beneficiaries would be the military – to which $54 billion is being directed – Homeland Security and the nation’s most wealthy who would again receive massive tax cuts which people like billionaire Warren Buffett has said is totally unnecessary and unneeded.
“This budget is immoral and irresponsible and confirms what then-candidate Trump showed us time and time again – he only cares about people who have bank accounts that look like his,” Richmond continued. “We encourage President Trump, Office of Management and Budget Director (Mick) Mulvaney and the Administration to learn from the CBC budget, which is moral and responsible and invests in families and our nation’s future. The CBC budget will move every American forward, not just those at the top, all while reducing the national debt.”
Politico Senior Staff Writer Michael Grunwald skewered the budget proposal, calling it a scam and castigating the Trump team for played fast and loose with the numbers.
“ … This proposal is unusually brazen in its defiance of basic math, and in its accounting discrepancies amounting to trillions-with-a-t rather than mere millions or billions,” Grunwald writes. “Budgets hinge on assumptions about taxes, spending and economic growth, and the Trump budget plays fast and loose with all three to try to achieve the illusion of balance, relying heavily on spectacular growth assumptions as well as vague and unrealistic promises to eliminate tax breaks and additional spending programs that go conveniently unnamed in the text. It proclaims that “we have borrowed from our children and their future for far too long, but it is a blueprint for far more borrowing and far more debt.”
Ron Busby, president of the U.S. Black Chambers Inc., a D.C.-based national advocate for Black-owned businesses, expressed disappointment and puzzlement at a president who claims to business-friendly but who has proposed to eliminate the Minority Business Development Agency.
Busby said the program accounts for less than .001 percent of federal spending, has produced 125,000 jobs, supports business centers throughout the country and has helped secure $36 billion in contracts and capital for minority-owned businesses. Three weeks before Trump’s announcement, Busby said that Congress increased the program’s funding to $34,000,000 after he testified before the House Appropriations Committee and explained to Congress the importance of continuing funding.
“Yet again, the Trump Administration that campaigned on job creation turns its back on the very programs proven to spur minority business growth,” said Busby in a statement. “Eliminating the only program dedicated to a diversity of job creators is an affront to the millions of minority entrepreneurs nationwide. We urge Congress to resist this ludicrous proposal and maintain their bipartisan support of the Minority Business Development Agency.”
Kimberly Hall and Michael Hilton, of The Poverty & Race Research Council (PRRAC), co-wrote an op-ed arguing for the Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to make a high quality education for all American children a priority.
“This proposed budget will close the doors of opportunity to hundreds of thousands of young minds around the country,” the op-ed said. “We urge Congress to reject this attack on equal access to a quality public education, students’ civil rights, and ultimately our country’s long-term ability to continue as a global leader. As we seek to prepare our students to compete on a global stage, the Trump Administration proposes to divert support from programs that have proven to benefit students’ life outcomes to fund programs that have shown to cause academic harm. But it does not stop there.

“The already short staffed Office of Civil Rights is on the line for considerable cuts in funding and staff positions. At a time when the complaint levels are near historic highs with a record number of complaints year after year, this budget will cripple the already understaffed office charged with protecting the civil rights of all students.”
Not everyone is upset about the proposed cuts. The CATO Institute, for example, praised Trump’s proposal. CATO says the plan would eliminate the budget deficit within a decade and be beneficial for a number of reasons. CATO believes the cuts would spur economic growth, while reforms to welfare programs will encourage more people to join the labor force and add to the nation’s output.
In order to pay for defense, Homeland Security and a wall at the border, Trump’s cuts also include the reduction or elimination of:

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Public service loan forgiveness
Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants
Community services block grants
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance program
The Home Investment Partnerships program
The Energy Star and voluntary climate programs
USDA Rural Development programs
National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Humanities
The Overseas Employment Corporation

NAACP National Board makes dramatic move to regain relevance

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

cornellbrooks_3794_fallen_web120.jpgCornell Brooks of the NAACP

Why did the NAACP’s national board vote to part ways with their president, Cornell William Brooks? Several longtime members contacted by the NNPA Newswire were shocked to hear the news. Brooks, 56, has served in the position since May 2014. Some NAACP insiders said that there was a lack of communication between the NAACP’s large board of directors and Brooks. Others say that a lack of fundraising prowess was the reason.
On the day the board voted to end Brooks’ tenure as president (his current contract expires on June 30), NAACP Board Chairman Leon Russell announced that the 108 year-old organization is “re-tooling” and embarking on “an organization-wide refresh” in response to the “audacious challenges” in “today’s volatile political, media and social climates.”
During an interview with American Urban Radio Networks, Brooks was asked why he was being let go. He responded: “I can’t point to any substantive reason. What I can point to is this: the NAACP over the course of less than three years, is more visible, more vocal, growing in members, donors, presence in the courts and in communities across the country.”
Brooks continued: “We’ve had nine court victories against voter suppression in ten months. We not only demonstrated in Flint, we filed suit in Flint…online membership is up 87 percent and online paper membership is up seven percent. Online donations are up 800 percent,” Brooks added. On May 21, Brooks was bombarded on Twitter with positive praise from well-wishers for his three years as NAACP President.
Brooks was also instrumental in spotlighting the damage President Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions will likely do to voting rights with a demonstration in Alabama that resulted in Brooks’ highly publicized arrest.
During a May 19 media call on the end of Brooks’ presidency, NAACP National Board Chairman Leon Russell and Vice Chair Derrick Johnson told reporters that the search for a new leader will start immediately and focus on, “renewed nimbleness and vigilance so that we can aggressively respond to the current climate of political unrest as well as the assault on human rights.”
Russell also added that, “we don’t have a job description in front of us.”
Russell said that there would be a, “system-wide and strategic revisiting of processes…that will ensure the NAACP can address these 21st century challenges.”
Russell also said that he and Johnson would manage the day-to-day NAACP operations on an interim basis until a replacement for Brooks is found. They also announced a NAACP “listening tour” in an effort to be informed “by the people we serve” and to “harness grassroots energy” while at the same time listening also to current staff, past leaders in the Civil Rights Movement and “philanthropic” groups.
The NAACP makes this startling leadership change at an incredibly crucial time. President Donald Trump is reeling amidst accusations of collusion with the Russian government, during the 2016 election season and obstruction of justice involving former FBI Director Jim Comey’s investigation of it. Attorney General Sessions easily represents one of the biggest threats to policy issues disproportionately impacting African Americans.
But the NAACP has clearly taken a back seat in terms of national attention. Younger, tighter and more focused movements such as Black Lives Matter, Color of Change and now The Indivisible Movement have leveraged social media and narrowed priorities to push there agendas as the NAACP has remained in a traditionalist managerial model that would appear ill-suited for the times.
The vote by the 64-member NAACP national board to part ways with Brooks took place during a quarterly board meeting in Florida and on the same day that Dr. Rev. William Barber stepped down as NAACP North Carolina State President. Barber has led the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina and won political and public relations attention as a result. He is now focused on a diverse “poor people’s campaign” modeled after Dr. Martin Luther King’s own work.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a speaker, writer and political analyst. She appears on “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin every Monday. Lauren is also a frequent contributor to the NNPA Newswire and Connect with Lauren by email at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

Under Director Comey, FBI Special Agents were required to visit Dr. King’s Memorial

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called King a communist because of his fight for civil rights
By Frederick H. Lowe

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from

king monument - obama family.jpg

Visitors at the King Memorial in Washington, D. C.

(–Former FBI Director James Comey, who was hired by President Barack Obama and fired by President Donald Trump, ordered the FBI’s new special agents to visit the Washington D.C. memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for a discussion concerning unchecked government power.
As FBI director, Comey kept a memo on his desk written by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The memo described Dr. King as a Communist, and it requested a technical surveillance on the civil rights leader. The 1963 memo was signed by Robert Kennedy, the U.S. Attorney General, Comey said during an interview on “60 Minutes” the news magazine broadcast Sunday nights on CBS Television.
Scott Pelley, a 60 Minutes reporter, who interviewed Comey, said, “there is no court order. It was a signature of the FBI director and the signature of the attorney general.”
“Yep,” Comey said. ”And then open-ended. No time limit. No space restriction. No review. No oversight.”
A 60 Minutes narrator said: “Some of the worst of the FBI’s history is its investigation of Dr. King. So, on Comey’s orders, FBI Academy instructors now bring new agents here [Dr. King’s statue] to talk about values lost in the pursuit of the man who became a monument.”
The camera then focuses on the face of an unnamed black woman who said: “Character, courage, collaboration, competence. We have to be able to call on those tools in our toolbox to be able to make sure that we are correcting some of the things that happened in the past.”
“What’s the lesson?” Pelley asks Comey.
“The lesson is the importance of never becoming untethered to oversight and accountability. I want all of my new special agents and intelligence analysts to understand that portion of the FBI’s history the FBI’s interaction with Dr. King and draw from it an understanding of the dangers of falling in love with our own rectitude. And the importance of being immersed in that design of the founders with oversight by the courts and Congress so we don’t fall in love with our own view of things,” Comey said.
President Trump fired Comey on May 9th. President Obama appointed him in 2013.