The ‘Blacks for Trump’ founder, who said during a recent interview that he wants to ‘destroy’ Republican presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis, has a decades-long past of run-ins with the law and is a devoted follower of the late cult leader Hulon Mitchell Jr.
Maurice Symonette, formerly Maurice Woodside, was interviewed by Laura Loomer, a former President Trump devotee and twice-failed GOP candidate, during a protest outside of DeSantis’ presidential campaign announcement at the Miami Four Seasons hotel last Wednesday.
In a blog post accompanying her video, Loomer described Symonette as one of the ‘real grassroots voters’ who wants to ‘make it clear that DeSantis is a fraud.’
‘I’m here to destroy DeSantis, because he’s a bastard from Hell,’ Symonette told Loomer. ‘What I’m going to do is make sure that you don’t win, and that everybody knows that you’re a RINO Republican racist.’
Neither Loomer nor Symonette are affiliated with the Trump campaign, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Loomer reportedly met with Trump earlier this year and was being considered for a campaign position until the potential hire received backlash from some top aides and Trump ally Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who called her ‘mentally unstable and a documented liar.’
Symonette made his comments alongside several other men wearing ‘Blacks for Trump’ shirts that also advertised Symonette’s nonprofit organization, BOSS Group Ministries, which follows the teachings of Hulon Mitchell Jr., founder of the murderous ‘Nation of Yahweh’ cult that disbanded after Mitchell landed behind bars.
Symonette is a 64-year-old Florida native who has faced several arrests dating back to the early 1980s, ranging from alleged identity theft to grand theft auto, and he has filed for bankruptcy eight times, according to public records.
In 2006, he was jailed after allegedly threatening a police officer, but he was not convicted. In 2014, he was found guilty of carrying a concealed firearm without a license.
Most recently, in May 2022, Symonette was charged with disorderly conduct. He has claimed before that he is being targeted by Miami authorities due to his political and religious beliefs.
Symonette, who publicly goes by ‘Michael the Black Man,’ was an early member of Mitchell’s ‘Nation of Yahweh,’ a sect of the Black Hebrew Israelites movement, and he went by the name Mikael Israel in the 1980s.
The male-dominated insular group lived communally, wore white robes and worked 18-hour days at Mitchell’s so-called ‘Temple of Love’ in Miami, the Miami New Times reported in 2011, but the movement had multiple temples across the country.
In 1990, Symonette, Mitchell and 14 other Nation of Yahweh members were accused of murdering more than a dozen White people and dissidents, some by bombing and beheading, as part of the cult’s initiation process. Witnesses reported members would gift Mitchell the ears of their victims as sacrifices. All 16 members were charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder, but Symonette and six others were acquitted after devotee Robert Rozier, a former NFL player, confessed to seven of the murders.
Symonette’s brother, Ricardo Woodside, who reportedly left the Nation of Yahweh several years earlier, testified against Mitchell and his brother for a reduced sentence and served five years in prison. At the trial, Ricardo testified that he and his brother tried unsuccessfully to kill a cult dissident, and that his brother helped beat a man who later died, the New Times reported.
Meanwhile, Mitchell, known by his followers as Yahweh Ben Yahweh, was convicted of conspiracy to murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison, and his Temple of Love was disbanded soon after.
Mitchell was released on parole in Miami in 2001 after serving 11 years in prison, and he died six years later of cancer.
Symonette, who legally changed his name from Woodside soon after his acquittal, claimed that Mitchell’s conviction was politically motivated because the group supported Republicans, ‘and the Democrats were very frightened about that,’ the New Times reported.
In 2019, Symonette told local media that Mitchell had been instructing his devotees to support Trump as far back as 1984.
‘Yahweh Ben Yahweh told us in 1984 that Trump was Cyrus,’ Symonette told Local 10 News, referring to the ancient Persian king. ‘He said one day he is going to run for president.’
Symonette told a similar story to The Washington Post in 2018.
‘Ben Yahweh said, ‘That’s the man, that’s the one who will fight for you,” he said at the time.
Symonette made headlines during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign after he was spotted behind the former president at multiple rallies across the country holding ‘Blacks for Trump’ signs that also advertised his nonprofit religious organization, BOSS Group Ministries, which stands for ‘Brothers of Superior Status’ and appears to be a continuation of the Yahweh cult.
‘I love the signs behind me: Blacks for Trump. I like those signs,’ Trump said during an October 2016 rally in Sanford, Florida. ‘Blacks for Trump, you watch. You watch. Those signs are great, thank you.’
After Trump’s inauguration, on Jan. 20, 2017, Symonette posted a Facebook picture of himself and other supporters ‘onstage at the inaugural ball.’
During a Pennsylvania rally later that year, Trump saw the Black for Trump sign and said, ‘Thank you for that sign — Blacks for Trump — I love that guy. Thank you, man. That’s really great. I really appreciate it,’ CBS News reported.
Symonette and other Blacks for Trump members also appeared behind Trump during his October 2020 campaign rally in Ocala, Florida.
Most recently, Symonette and his group set up camp near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach, holding daily demonstrations in support of the former president as he faced an indictment in New York City over alleged campaign finance violations.
In March, Symonette gave a sermon-like interview to FreedomNewsTV in Palm Beach, with his supporters emphatically agreeing with him that ‘when our day comes, we will be arresting your stinking a–.’
‘I’m going with Trump, because if Yahweh Ben Yahweh tells me that is our savior … I’m going with Cyrus, baby,’ Symonette preached to News2Share as his followers nodded along and punctuated his words with clapping and, ‘That’s right!’
During the protests, Symonette and his followers wore shirts that read, ‘BlacksForTrump2020.com,’ which leads to a blog belonging to Symonette’s BOSS Group Ministries called ‘Limitless Truth,’ which declared the group would not support DeSantis in the general election if he won the Republican primary.
Symonette, who is listed as the president of BOSS Group Ministries, has also donated at least $750 to Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, the primary fundraising apparatus for Trump’s 2024 campaign and his leadership PAC.
BOSS Group Ministries regularly posts the late Mitchell’s phrases and teachings on its website and YouTube channel.
The ministry, however, appears to have at least partially abandoned the Black supremacist teachings of the Yahweh cult in favor of a form of racial separatism, with Trump at the helm.
Symonette is also vehemently anti-LGBTQ. In a video posted last month, he appeared to threaten ‘homosexuals’ who did not soon repent and support Trump.
‘To all of my gay brothers out there … You can be saved,’ he said in the video. ‘If you don’t want to be saved, I’m here to wipe your a– off the planet Earth. And it’s real. This ain’t no joke.’
‘Those who don’t repent, you think you strong enough to stand against me, Trump and the Black Elamites and Hebrew Israelites, the greatest warriors on Earth? N—-, stand up!’ he continued. ‘Watch what happens, boy. We’re gonna stomp your a–.’
In the video, Symonette referred to the late Mitchell as his ‘father’ and as the son of God.
In April of last year, multiple people were shot, one fatally, during one of Symonette’s weekly Jet Ski parties at his ministry’s headquarters in North Miami.
Last week, Symonette bragged in a video that his all-ages parties at the ministry often include a mix of White and Black gang members and that everyone gets along and has a ‘ball.’
‘Blacks mixing with the White European gentiles who are called the deplorables, the blessed ones — but only I can achieve that,’ he said in the May 24 video. ‘Only I can explain to Black people who you are, and that you’re our true blood brother. Yahweh Ben Yahweh taught me that we have to fight for you.’
Symonette did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
Fox News Digital reached out to the DeSantis campaign but did not receive a response.