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Who is the Black man standing behind Trump at rallies?

August 25, 2017 GMT

A Black man of mystery has been creating a stir on social media because he stood behind President Donald J. Trump during a rally Tuesday in Phoenix, Az. holding up a BLACKS FOR TRUMP sign.

He was enthusiastic in cheering for Trump while wearing a T-shirt that read “Trump and Republicans are Not Racist” and “Gods2.com.”

According to several news outlets, the man calls himself “Michael the Black Man.” He was formerly known as Maurice Woodside and Michael Symonette and had appeared at Trump rallies in the past.

The website promoted on his shirt is interesting. According to Salon.com, the website redirects readers to the personal website of Michael the Black Man (formerly known as Maurice Woodside and Michael Symonette), once a prominent member of the Nation of Yahweh, a violent Black supremacist group prominent in Miami in the 1980s.

U.S. News and World Report reported that Michael was a former member of “the infamous Yahweh ben Yahweh cult, who believes, among other things, Barack Obama is Satan and Hillary Clinton is a member of the KKK.”

The Washington Post reported that Michael was accused, but not convicted, of conspiracy to commit two murders in the 1990s. The Post said that Michael believes Oprah Winfrey is the devil.

The website goes further and delves in conspiracy theories about the Ku Klux Klan, Hillary Clinton, the Islamic State and Cherokee Indians.

Born Maurice Woodside, according to a 2011 Miami New Times story, he joined the Yahweh Ben Yahweh cult somewhere around 1980. The cult, headed by Hulon Mitchell Jr. was tied to several Miami-area murders in the mid-1980s and recruited not just Woodside and his brother Ricarod along with other relatives.

The New York Post said he and 15 other members were charged in 1990 with conspiring to murder two people, and his brother testified Michael helped beat a man and stabbed him in the eye before he was killed by the cult.

Michael and his co-defendants were acquitted, but Mitchell was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In an interview with New York’s WLS radio, Michael acknowledged his ties to Yahweh Ben Yahweh. He said Mitchell “was a Black man that was destroyed by the Clintons [former President Bill and wife Hillary] because we were Black and prominent and doing things positive, as they have attacked all Black organizations.”

Through the last 20 years, according to the Post report, Michael has been charged with carrying a weapon on an airplane, threatening a police officer and grand theft auto.