Michael Symonette, also known as “Michael The Black Man” or Maurice Symonette, was the man standing behind President Donald Trump at his Phoenix, Arizona rally on August 22. Symonette, who was previously seen behind Trump at a Lakeland, Florida rally in October, directed Trump’s audience to the site Gods2.com, a site filled with conspiracy theories.
Symonette’s presence in Arizona is strange, since he is known primarily for appearing at Republican events in the Miami area. He was also a member of the dangerous Yahweh ben Yahweh cult.
“The fact is I wouldn’t even take any money because you are not going to call me a sellout. From Bush to Allen West to anyone I assisted we did it on our dime,” Symonette told Black Enterprise. “I put my website on [the signs] because they are calling this man a racist and I don’t want to be holding a sign and look like some Uncle Tom sellout without explaining my position.”
Here’s what you need to know about Symonette and the site he directed Trump’s audience to.
1. His Site Gods2.com Leads Visitors to HonestFacts.com, a Site Listing Conspiracy Theories About the Cherokee Indians
The first one claims that the “Real K K K Slave Master Revealed & is the Cherokee!” Symonette claims that Trump will “Solve America’s debt” and “make all Indians pay Taxes!” The page also alleges that President Barack Obama, Clinton and Senator Al Franken are Cherokee and Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, along with Mitt Romney are “White hidden MORMOM/CHEROKEES.”
“Republican Senators who’re against Trump’s HealthCare Policy & all of his Policies are Mormon Cherokee’s. They are the Racist that believe White Gentiles & Black Republicans are Idiots & are not worthy to Rule,” the site reads.
Symonette also has a YouTube channel, where he has videos that go with many of his theories. He also refers to the Confederate Battle Flag as the “Cherokee Democrat Flag.”
2. Symonette Was a Member of the Violent Yahweh ben Yahweh Cult Led by Hulon Mitchell Jr.
According to the Miami New Times, Symonette was a member of the Yahweh ben Yahweh cult. The cult was led by Hulon Mitchell Jr., who adopted the name “Yahweh ben Yahweh” and spent 11 years in prison from 1990 to 2001 on violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Mitchell and other members of the group were convicted of conspiracy in over a dozen murders.
Symonette himself was charged with allegedly conspiring in two murders, but he was found not guilty. During the trial, his brother claimed Symonette helped beat a man who later died and stuck a stick in another man’s eye.
The Southern Poverty Law Center called the cult a “notorious black supremacist religious sect” and feared it was growing after Mitchell’s death in 2007.
Symonette, who was “Maurice Woodside” before joining Yahweh Ben Yahweh, explained to the Miami New Times in 2011 that he first met Mitchell around 1980, when he was 21 years old. He also said he was inspired by seeing Roots. “I was shocked and I was upset, so I became a warrior against the whites,” he told the paper. “I went insane.”
Yahweh Ben Yahweh is still a major influence in Symonette’s life, as evidenced by HonestFact.com. He even includes a disclaimer to show that he was not convicted of criminal charges related to the cult.
“BLACKS FOR TRUMP founder Maurice Symonette/Michael the Black Man was found innocent in YAHWEH Case after witnesses admitted they we’re lying to get a good Deal from the Gov. So after being questioned by YAHWEH Atty,” his site reads. “Congressman Alcee Hastings who caught Rosier lying about seeing an incident Sept.17.1983 but could not have seen this because Atty. Hastings proved that he was in Jail between Feb.1983 until Jan.1984 in Jacksonville Fla. at the time of of the made up incident in that never happened in Miami! google this!”
3. Symonette Also Organized Blacks Behind Obama & Claimed Obama Wanted to Kill Him
In 2008, Symonette made a name for himself as the leader of “Blacks Against Obama.” In an October 2008 interview with the Miami New Times, Symonette also claimed Obama wanted him assassinated.
“This was supposed to be an assassination,” Symonette told the Miami New Times. “Obama’s people were behind it.”
Symonette claimed that on September 25, he was getting on a bus to go to Mississippi and protest the first presidential debate with 30 other men. A man ran out of the shadows with an AR-15 and grabbed Symonette’s brother. “I bit his leg, right above his knee. He screamed and let the AR go,” Symonette claimed.
Symonette told the New Times that two other gunmen came out. He described the scene as if it was an action movie.
“I got up and started running in a zigzag, and one of my shoes done came off,” he told the paper. “One of the bullets … grazed my head, on the right side. When I put my hand there, I felt all the blood.”
Police did report a shooting and Symonette’s brother Al was taken to a hospital because a bullet went “straight through his arm.” The gunman was identified as Taytreon Edwards, 25, and the two other gunmen were never found.
Symonette told the New Times that a friend heard one of the gunmen say, “Where is the guy that Obama wants dead?”
4. Symonette Said He ‘Completely’ Despises Hillary Clinton
After appearing at Trump’s Lakeland, Florida rally in October, Symonette explained to the Miami New Times why he couldn’t support Hillary Clinton.
“One reason is because Hillary’s last name is Rodham, and their family members are Rothchilds, who enslaved 13,000 slaves as collateral,” he told the paper. “She’s also on camera kissing the head of the Ku Klux Klan and saying, ‘That’s my mentor.’ That’s all on my website.”
He added, “I completely despise Hillary. I hope the very worst for her chances for the presidency.”
Symonette has been charged with four felonies in his life but never convicted. In 2009, he was charged with grand theft auto. In January 2017, he was charged with violating a city ordinance for a noise complaint.
5. Symonette Once Opened a Rick Santorum Rally & Was Praised by Glenn Beck
Symonette earned the attention of other conservatives before Trump. Back in 2010, MediaMatters noted that Glenn Beck praised him and other “black conservatives taking a real stand in the face of adversity.”
The Miami New Times also notes that Symonette was invited to a January 2012 Rick Santorum rally in Florida. Symonette, who was gaining attention among the Tea Party, told the audience that Democrats are “Nazis” in disguise.
“The Democrats, they’re the worst thing that ever happen to the black man,” Symonette told the crowd. “They’re the slave masters.”
In 2011, The Miami New Times reported that one of Symonette’s nephews, Adolphus, was accusing him of trying to create another cult. “Adolphus is just telling you what he thinks will get him out of prison,” Symonette told the paper.