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Pro-Trump pastor pushes back on vicious 'truther' claims

Pastor, former law enforcement officer and talk show host Carl Gallups is firing back at an international smear campaign by liberal media outlets around the world claiming he denied the Sandy Hook school shooting took place.

“I am not a Sandy Hook ‘truther,'” Gallups told WND.

And he said people should consider the source and possible motive. After all, he’s endorsed GOP presidential primary front-runner Donald Trump, and a condemn-by-association strategy could be in play.

Gallups was quoted in a recent Associated Press story describing how Trump is winning evangelical voters.

Then following that story, a number of publications including Salon, the New York Daily News and Media Matters attacked him.

Even the Daily Mail from the United Kingdom piled on.

Their claim? That he denied Sandy Hook took place. But he didn’t.

Gallups said he is “very disturbed” about the “false” and “erroneous” headlines circulating about him.

He suggested the motive is nothing more or less than an attack on Trump, through him.

“Trump is getting ready to do the Florida primary and they’re looking for anything to discredit Trump,” Gallups said. “So they find an evangelical pastor which the mainstream media hates anyway, and they went looking. They couldn’t find anything where I literally said something stupid, so they made an association with this and put those words in my mouth and just claimed I was a ‘hoaxer.’ And all of this was done to discredit Trump.

“They’re afraid I might have had some influence on the evangelical community. They don’t want Trump to win Florida and so they are reaching at straws,” he said.

Gallups, the author of several books including the recent “Be Thou Prepared,” does not work for Trump, nor is he a surrogate. In truth, he observed, he is only very tenuously connected to Trump.

However, he is pastor of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Florida, a state now hosting a fiercely contested primary battle.

It was back in January, Gallups gave the invocation preceding a Donald Trump rally in Pensacola, Florida. At the time, he said he had not formally endorsed Trump. He has since done so.

Gallups explained with the exception of a reporter from the Washington Post, none of the reporters involved in writing allegations about him bothered to interview him.

Instead, Gallups observes, they simply picked up his talk radio interviews and used that to characterize his beliefs.

Gallups explained the media was focusing on an interview he did with a man who claimed a picture of the father of one of the victims looked remarkably similar to a picture of one of the FBI agents at the scene. It was in that context, Gallups said, he referred to Sandy Hook as a “hoax,” giving the perspective of his guest.

“I can state, right now, that not only have I never said categorically that the Sandy Hook tragedy is a complete fabrication or hoax, right now, I’m denying that it was a hoax,” Gallups said.

“That doesn’t prevent me from asking questions. That doesn’t prevent me from saying, ‘Here’s a part of that whole scenario that is odd.’ When I’m behind that microphone interviewing people, I’m a radio host and an investigative reporter and so I make no apologies for asking those questions.”

Don’t miss Pastor Gallups’ explosive warning to Christians around the world. “Be Thou Prepared” available now from the WND Superstore.

As a former law enforcement officer, Gallups said he is used to examining all aspects of a case. He said several aspects of the case in Sandy Hook were unusual in his own professional experience. However, he does not deny the attacks took place, nor does he say it was simply made up.

“No one will find anywhere in writing or any audio clip taken in context, that I have ever claimed Sandy Hook is a complete hoax from top to bottom,” Gallups told WND. “I have always said, from the beginning, as many people were saying, that there are many things about the case that are strange.”

Gallups recently met with fellow lawman and Trump supporter Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff. At the meeting, he was sworn in as a “Special Deputy for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.”

Gallups says he takes his past as a law enforcement officer very seriously and uses his experience to inform everything he says.

His experiences are part of the reason Gallups has endorsed Trump.

“The bottom line is we are not electing a priest or a pastor,” said Gallups. “I’m telling Christians we have to put somebody in there who can win this thing, who can win the White House, and who is capable of being the commander-in-chief and the CEO of our economy and our government. The chief executive of the executive branch,” he said.

Gallups believes Trump is that man.

He also urges Christians not to vote for labels.

“Let me be perfectly clear: I’m not comparing Ted Cruz directly to Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama, but all three of those candidates labeled themselves to the public as Christians, with Clinton and Carter calling themselves Baptist evangelicals,” warned Gallups.

Gallups said he would never doubt Cruz’s Christian beliefs and called him “genuine in his faith” but did express concerns about the Texas senator’s eligibility because of questions surrounding his supposed status as a “natural born citizen,” a constitutional requirement to be president.

“Let’s argue theology later; let’s save the nation first,” said Gallups. “We need somebody who will get this country turned around, somebody who will respect the Constitution and give people of faith the ability to practice their faith without government interference similar to the kind of interference we have right now.”

But while Gallups believes Trump is the man to do all that, he definitely doesn’t think Trump qualifies as a spiritual leader.

“If we needed a new pastor at my church, I probably wouldn’t recommend Donald Trump to be the pastor,” he joked.

Still, Gallups is uncomfortable with suddenly becoming a campaign issue.

“I’m a small cog in the wheel but I am a cog,” Gallups said. “So they went after me. What they are trying to do now is put pressure on him [Trump] to denounce me, like I’m some David Duke kind of guy.”

Gallups believes there is an agenda at work.

“As I said to the one reporter who bothered to interview me, ‘Does you interviewing me make you a Sandy Hook truther?'” Gallups asked rhetorically.

Despite being the subject of a deeply hostile international media campaign, Gallups said he is undaunted.

“It truly doesn’t bother me on a personal level and I won’t back down,” he said. “Consider the source – we are dealing with liberal media sources trying to marginalize an evangelical pastor and Donald Trump. Who can possibly say they are surprised?

“It’s extremely disappointing because none of those people bothered to call me and ask me what I thought about Sandy Hook or whatever else they wanted to talk about. They just made up a narrative because they couldn’t find anything else and they wanted it to stick.”

However, Gallups actually thanked his critics for raising his profile and creating more interview opportunities.

“Thank you media,” he said sarcastically. And more sincerely, he added, “Besides, I appreciate any opportunity to talk about what is most important: praising the Word of God.”

Don’t miss Pastor Gallups’ explosive warning to Christians around the world. “Be Thou Prepared” available now from the WND Superstore.