Pastor James David Manning sat in front of a microphone at his cherry-red desk, a cartoon rendering of Harlem serving as the backdrop in his makeshift TV studio. He wore a gray windowpane three-piece suit, a purple shirt with a white collar that his double chin spilled onto, and a shiny, gold tie.
“I wanna take the time to address those who are supporters of one Mr. Donald Trump,” he said into the camera for his latest installment of The Manning Report. “One of the wisest, most patient, humble, gracious—yet strongest leader I have ever encountered in all the days of my life.”
Manning likes Trump, in case he didn’t make it clear, and it’s not hard to understand why.
Manning likes Trump because Trump hates, just like he does.
Trump hates enough that Manning formally endorsed his candidacy on Monday, during a meeting at Trump Tower with other black pastors that Trump had courted. Trump seems to be under the impression that befriending Men of God like Manning is going to make him seem like less of a racist.
Maybe Trump should’ve googled him.
“I realize that I am a lightning rod,” Manning had admitted on Wednesday’s episode of The Manning Report. “I use language people don’t like. I call people faggots. I call people niggers. I call people white trash. I call people crackers. And I will continue to. I’m not going to stop.”
“But I recognize that because of that, one could easily say, ‘Well, you know, Trump is aligned with James David Manning and James David Manning is known for hating black people or white people,” he said. “But that doesn’t stop me from offering my support, or more specifically, from offering a word of enlightenment to the people in the Harlem Community.”
Pastor James David Manning runs ATLAH Worldwide Missionary Church on 36 W. 123rd Street in New York City. ATLAH, which stands for “All the Land Anointed Holy,” is more hate group than parish. Outside the red-bricked building is a hexagonal sign that is used to send messages like, “WHEN THE HOMOS BULLIED THE POOR AND NEEDY IN SODOM LIKE THEY DO IN HARLEM JESUS FIRE & BRIM-STONED THEM” or “OBAMA HAS RELEASED THE HOMO DEMONS ON THE BLACK MAN. LOOK OUT BLACK WOMAN. A WHITE HOMO MAY TAKE YOUR MAN.”
He thinks President Obama is literally “the son of Satan” and that gay people should be stoned to death. Starbucks, he says, flavors their coffee with “sodomites’ semen.”
I sat down with Manning in September 2014 for a wide-ranging interview. I learned that he is as obsessed with publicity as he is gay sex. His office, where he films his YouTube videos, is so jam-packed with lights and wires and cameras that you can barely walk in it. He proudly advertises the fact that he is known in the media (or, the “dung-head media” to quote Manning) as the “Hate Pastor.”
He explained to me, with all the certainty in the world, that homosexuality is wrong because of science.
“Everything in the universe condemns homosexuality,” he said. “There’s opposites in the universe. There’s light, there’s dark. There’s moon, there’s suns around it. There’s planets and there’s galaxies. The same basic physics principles that exist here on Earth exist in the universe. You have the atom, which has the neutron, the electron, the proton. So through that process, energy is developed. This is pretty consistent throughout the entire universe. The only thing in the universe that believes that one of one thing is sufficient are homosexuals.”
At the time, Manning sounded nuts. Now, what he said sounds like something Trump or Ben Carson might say at a rally and double down on in a Meet the Press appearance.
Manning’s secretary told me Wednesday that he didn’t have anything to say to me about Trump, and that I should just watch The Manning Report to understand why he supports him.
Two weeks after Trump announced his candidacy in June, Manning released an installment of The Manning Report titled, “More Power To Donald Trump.”
At the time, Trump was just rising in the polls, and Manning said he could explain why. “What is happening now with the liberal media—they are all Obama-ized, they are all demonized, they are all demons,” Manning said. Trump was the only one who knew the Truth and wasn’t afraid to say it.
“Donald Trump, the reason why people are resonating with Donald Trump is because Donald Trump is not afraid of Obama,” he said.
“Donald Trump is the only person that is running for president who knows that Obama is a flat-out communist, socialist, not born in America unconstitutional. Everybody knows that and that’s why Donald Trump can win the presidency if he wants it.”
After his meeting with Trump, he bragged on The Manning Report, “I sat at the table with Donald Trump on yesterday. Let me tell you what I perceived about this man: Donald Trump is a gracious man. He sat for two and a half hours with black church people—black pastors, from different denominations—and kept his composure, never once in the midst of them begging him to bow down to black people, never once lost his composure. Two and a half hours patiently and he expressed interest in what every person—if someone said something, he was interested! I’ve got to tell you that takes a lot when you listen to idiots and stupid people! When they’re espousing stupid stuff!”
To show his devotion, Manning said, “I want to start a campaign of Harlem For Trump is what I wanna do… His message is what Harlem needs to hear.”
Asked if Trump had heard Manning’s message, and if he, too, believes Obama is literally Satan’s spawn, his campaign didn’t reply.
Tune in next week, when Trump spots a UFO.