GOP Establishment Megadonors Join Bloomberg in Trying to Tear Down Trump-Backed Black Pastor in SC Primary

I'm so grateful to have the full endorsement of President Donald Trump, the current leader

Republican establishment megadonors are financing an effort to try to tear down black pastor Mark Burns, the congressional candidate in South Carolina’s upcoming runoff endorsed by former President Donald Trump, in an effort to boost his establishment-backed opponent.

The efforts of a group called “Conservatives for American Excellence” are funded by GOP billionaires Ken Griffin and Paul Singer, among others. Griffin is one of the most establishment GOP donors, and has continued to withhold financial support for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign despite the fact that Trump has been the presumptive GOP nominee for president since March and the fact that Trump defeated all of his opponents early in the race. Singer, meanwhile, was one of the GOP billionaires who, along with Griffin, gave millions of dollars to back former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the GOP primary. Haley lost every state to Trump except for the far-left enclave of Vermont and the nation’s capital Washington DC, despite the millions and millions of dollars that people such as Singer and Griffin spent helping her. Griffin has, since Trump roundly defeated Haley, praised Trump but has not yet opened his wallet to help the former president against Democrat President Joe Biden and has said he is waiting until Trump picks a running mate before doing so. It is unclear if he or others like him ever will help Trump.

While these megadonors are still stewing over Trump cruising to a GOP primary victory and winning the nomination again despite their best efforts to stop him, they are funding groups such as “Conservatives for American Excellence” to run attack ads against Trump’s endorsed candidate in South Carolina’s third congressional district. Trump endorsed Burns, a black pastor, months ago and has spoken highly of the conservative leader. But these big donors, desperate to thwart Trump somehow, are instead pouring their millions into groups like this.

Griffin has given, per Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, at least $3 million to “Conservatives for American Excellence,” while Singer has given at least $1.5 million. Their group is now running attack ads falsely accusing Burns of “stolen valor,” relying on a CNN hit piece from 2016 that zoned in on how he had previously mixed up the Army Reserves with the South Carolina National Guard on an old website. Burns did in fact serve in the South Carolina National Guard, and so the mix-up is anything but “stolen valor.” His official honorable discharge certificate even shows that Burns served in the Army National Guard and was activated to the U.S. Army Reserves on completion of his service with the South Carolina National Guard.

That didn’t stop Griffin’s and Singer’s group from compiling a television ad they are currently airing in the third district in South Carolina that absurdly claims a “bombshell expose” found that “Mark Burns lied about serving in the military and is now under fire for ‘stolen valor.’”

Burns fought back against these nonsensical claims by holding up his honorable discharge papers from the South Carolina National Guard in a recent debate with establishment candidate Sheri Biggs to prove the ads are a lie:

In addition, Burns issued a statement exclusively to Breitbart News making his service record clear.

“I served in the South Carolina Army National Guard for six years, and received an honorable discharge,” Burns said. “My basic training and AIT was at Ft. Benning, GA, also known as Sandhill, Home of the Infantry. My MOS was 11B (MECH) Infantry. Anyone repeating the false and baseless CNN hit piece claim that I did not serve honorably is lying, plain and simple. That’s what liberal media does: they take words out of context, create a fake news story, and then sell it in order to destroy their opponents.”

These latest attack ads against Burns come after as Breitbart News reported a group funded in part by leftist billionaire and anti-Second Amendment activist former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also been behind attack ads against Burns.

Burns will face Biggs, a nurse practitioner clearly favored by the donor class against the Trump-backed Burns, in next week’s runoff. Burns finished first in a crowded primary, and Biggs second, to trigger the runoff in South Carolina. For what it’s worth, video of Trump backing Burns, as well as images of his formal endorsement issued on Truth Social, are available on Burns’ campaign website.

Perhaps more interesting than either of the people running is the donor-class machinations and spending as they seek to gain influence and favor in Washington and potentially to weaken or kneecap Trump in so doing.

Beyond this race, FEC records show the very same group — “Conservatives for American Excellence” — has spent mostly against actually conservative candidates in a number of other congressional races nationwide. Very little has actually been spent in helping any of them in any general election capacity against Democrats, either, and appears to represent a donor-class struggle to maintain control of some elements of the Republican Party, now that they have clearly lost the presidency at least for now.

In fact, NBC News wrote about this group and others like it back in March in a piece featuring these megadonors’ efforts to undercut actual conservatives in a bid to prop up establishment Republicans.

“A group of the Republican Party’s most prominent megadonors are pouring millions of dollars into a handful of primaries in deep-red congressional districts — part of a bid to influence the makeup of the House GOP conference after a difficult and conflict-ridden year,” the NBC News report reads:

With the political world’s attention focused on the presidential election, two super PACs financed by a small group of donors quietly spent over $6 million against five Republicans running for House seats in Super Tuesday primaries, according to Federal Election Commission records. The super PACs, Conservatives for American Excellence and America Leads Action, have targeted candidates who are either endorsed by the political arm of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus or would align with the caucus, which has been a thorn in GOP leadership’s side since it launched in 2015.

For whatever it’s worth, this spending against Burns in South Carolina — to prop up Biggs — is not the first time “Conservatives for American Excellence” has tried to derail a Trump-backed candidate in an open GOP primary. The group tried in Texas earlier this year, as well against Trump-backed Brandon Gill, according to NBC News, but Gill ended up succeeding and defeating his opponents. What happens on Tuesday in South Carolina between Burns and Biggs remains to be seen, but overall the broader fight between the ultra-wealthy extremists in the donor class and the more moderate and reasonable Republicans around Trump is just getting started.


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