As Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation appears to zero in on Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s payments to two women during the 2016 campaign, the claim of a similar “hush money” offer to Barack Obama’s former pastor is being recalled.
Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright, who married Barack and Michelle Obama and was described by the former president as a mentor, revealed in a 2012 interview with the New York Post highlighted Friday by the Gateway Pundit that one of Obama’s “closest friends” offered him $150,000 if he would not preach until after the 2008 November election.
The airing of excerpts of Wright’s virulent anti-America, anti-Semitic and racist sermons became a major issue, threatening the Obama campaign’s effort to bury or spin the candidate’s far-left upbringing and political activism.
“After the media went ballistic on me, I received an email offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election,” Wright said in the interview.
The pastor affirmed that Obama came to see him during the election campaign and asked him to stop public speaking.
“Barack said he wanted to meet me in secret, in a secure place,” Wright said. “And I said, ‘You’re used to coming to my home, you’ve been here countless times, so what’s wrong with coming to my home?'”
They met in the parsonage of Wright’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
“And one of the first things Barack said was, ‘I really wish you wouldn’t do any more public speaking until after the November election,'” Wright said.
Obama, the minister recalled, said it’s “gonna hurt the campaign if you do that.”
In a January 2006 sermon, Wright – who espouses the neo-Marxist black liberation theology – called America the “No. 1 killer in the world” and blamed the country for launching the AIDS virus to maintain affluence at the expense of the Third World. The pastor said in a sermon just after 9/11, “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.” In a 2003 sermon, Wright encouraged blacks to “damn America” in God’s name and blamed the U.S. for provoking the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by dropping nuclear weapons on Japan in World War II and supporting Israel since 1947.
Then-Democratic Party primary rival Hillary Clinton seized on the controversy, saying in an interview with the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in March 2008, “You don’t choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend.” At a press conference later that day, Clinton said, “I think given all we have heard and seen, [Wright] would not have been my pastor.”
Trump is in the crosshairs of the special counsel probe not only for alleged campaign collusion with Russia but also for the roles he and former personal lawyer Cohen played in a payment of $130,000 to a porn star and $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate. The women claim Trump had a sexual relationship with them in 2006.
Cohen’s lawyer, longtime Clinton advocate Lanny Davis, claims the payments are criminal campaign violations. Liberal Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz has rebutted Davis’ claims in interviews this week, insisting there are other interests, aside from winning an election, that could be cited as motivations, such as family concerns.