Trump-supporting televangelist Mark Burns announced Thursday that he is running the South Carolina race to replace Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
In the video announcement released by his campaign, a narrator says Burns is an "emerging force in the conservative movement" and indicates that Burns will lean heavily on his support for the president throughout his campaign.
The pastor from South Carolina joins a crowded field of Republicans and Democrats who hope to succeed Gowdy in representing the Palmetto State in Congress. Gowdy, chairman of the House oversight committee, announced he would not run for re-election this month, adding his name to a growing list of Republican lawmakers leaving Congress during Trump's first term in office.
Burns has yet to present a policy platform, but has hewed closely to Trump on immigration and support for law enforcement in the past. And in the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, this week, Burns tweeted that the U.S. should federalize security in public schools, likening it to the Transportation Security Administration.
The South Carolina pastor has spent a lot of time with Trump, most recently at the White House for an event honoring Black History Month.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Burns was spotted next to Trump at several rallies, and he has taken to cable news shows in defense of the president numerous times.
But Burns is not unaccustomed to controversy himself:
In the heat of the 2016 campaign Burns tweeted, then deleted and apologizedfor a controversial tweet that showed Clinton in blackface with a caption that asserted she used "Black Americans" for votes during election years.
He also came under fire when CNN reported that he had padded his resume, exaggerating his college and military service records. Burns owned up to the embellishments, but blamed media bias at the time for them coming to light.
“It’s a shame that the political insiders and the media choose to attack me because I’m not going to stay silent about Hillary Clinton’s pandering to our community,” he tweeted at the time.