Last week, while promoting the new season of her reality TV show “Mary Mary,” gospel singer Tina Campbell addressed backlash she received for an open letter asking the public not to bash President Donald Trump and pray for him. Campbell said she voted for Trump because of his views on Christianity. In response, Angela Rye, an attorney and political commentator on CNN, posted on Instagram that she would boycott her show.
Campbell and her sister, Erica, are members of the award-winning contemporary gospel group “Mary Mary.” In an open letter posted on Facebook in January, Campbell expressed that it was her duty as a Christian to support Trump.
The lengthy letter states, in part:
“Although I don’t always understand or agree with Mr. Donald Trump’s politics, perspective, and approach, I believe that the same God that created all of us has deposited greatness inside of him that goes far beyond what many of us have seen and what many of us could imagine.
“I choose to believe that that same power that comes from Almighty God is at work in Mr. Donald Trump, and it will be used for the greater good of this nation and its people.
“I choose not to discredit that potential and greatness inside of Mr. Donald Trump simply because my previous perception of him has not been as great as the God who masterminded his existence.
“President Donald Trump is the elected leader of this nation so, as a citizen, I choose to be for him.”
The letter went viral, and Campbell received backlash due to Trump’s checkered history in relation to the Black community.
In an interview with The Root published on Sept. 29, the singer said she believed Trump shares her views on Christianity.
“I was faced with two presidential candidates that I really did not approve of,” Campbell said. “And so I had to find something, a commonality with one of them, that would make me feel like if I have to vote, I should utilize my right to vote. Since I don’t prefer either of them, what can I find that would make me vote? And some of Donald Trump’s views on Christianity, honestly, is what caused me to vote for him.”
Campbell also explained why she wrote the letter in a Sept. 26 interview with ABC News.
“So what prompted me to write this open letter is I’m going to churches and I’m seeing people so faithless, so scared, so shaken that we are going to hell in a handbag because Donald Trump is going to become the president.
“I don’t know if the other person was going to be our god or whatever, but it was almost like we picked the wrong god, and I was like, first of all the president is not your god, so don’t put that much faith in them.”
Campbell said she didn’t agree with “everything he’s doing.”
“I am greatly appalled by his choices, many things he has been saying, what he has been giving his attention to,” she said. “My position was that I was going to pray for him.”
Campbell then inferred that there was no basis for the fear that many Blacks and Latinos have about Trump disrupting their lives.
“Like even with the Black Lives Matter issue, because that is a lot of where this fear was coming from,” she said. “Everybody Black is like, ‘We’re all going to be slaves again, we’ll all be shipped back from somewhere.’
“Everybody that is Mexican, ‘We’re all going to be shipped somewhere.’”
She said not to bash Trump.
“[Thinking that] this man is gonna to take your house from you, he’s gonna take your car from you, he’s gonna take your job from you. In my opinion, he shouldn’t be that much of a part of your everyday existence. Thinking about every tweet that he makes and every decision.”
Rye, who is also an NPR political analyst, is known for her poignant criticism of Trump’s rhetoric and policies. On CNN in July, Rye refused to call him her president during a panel discussion related to Russia interfering in the U.S. presidential election.
“There are a lot of things that your president has done to defy logic. Let’s at least acknowledge that,” Rye, who is the CEO of IMPACT Strategies, said.
“Your president, too, Angela,” Trump campaign adviser and former GOP congressman Jack Kingston responded. “Your president, too.”
Rye replied, “Well, he’s your president.”
CNN host John Berman ended the dispute by saying Trump is “the president of the United States.”
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Rye responded to Campbell’s comments:
“It is truly the last and evil days, saints. I ain’t gonna tell you that the man isn’t a Christian.
“BUT I AM TELLING YOU WE KNOW A TREE BY THE FRUIT IT BEARS. Do you really believe his behavior is Christ like? Well, anyway … I am now boycotting ‘Mary Mary’ until Tina comes through with the GOSPEL TRUTH.
“What in the FIERY hell is going on?! Jesus!!!!!! And yes, I’m calling on Him because I need wisdom and understanding. I am trying REALLY hard not to cuss … on a Sunday. Let me log off.”
When other Black artists declined to perform the R&B singer accepted, saying she would be a “bridge.” But she wasn’t even introduced to President Donald Trump.
This isn’t the first time a Black recording artist has received backlash in regard to Trump. Grammy Award-winning artist Chrisette Michele accepted the invitation of Trump’s inaugural committee to perform at an inaugural ball on Jan. 20. When other Black artists declined to perform the R&B singer accepted, saying she would be a “bridge.” But she wasn’t even introduced to Trump.