Broward black Republican pastor excoriates Donald Trump and quits GOP

2017-12-05 | Sun Sentinel

Dec. 05--The Rev. O'Neal Dozier, the outspoken and often controversial Broward pastor, is resigning from the Republican Party, citing what he said are President Donald Trump's attitudes toward blacks, legitimizing of white supremacists and overall "ungodly character."

"I believe Donald Trump is mentally ill. I believe he is unfit for the presidency. I know these are strong words. But I have studied the man. This type of behavior doesn't come from sane people," Dozier said in an interview in which he also said the president has demonstrated "racist tendencies."

"We are in trouble. I fear for my county. I fear for my nation. Donald Trump is not the right person for the office of the presidency," Dozier said. "He's hurt the nation politically, socially, spiritually, morally and in every other way. He truly has. ... Every day there is some foolishness, some chaos that Donald Trump has started. All kinds of stuff. It's ridiculous."

Dozier, who is best known for warnings about threats he sees from radical Islam, same-sex marriage and abortion, condemned Trump in an hour-long interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel and in an opinion column he wrote for the South Florida Times, a weekly newspaper serving the African-American and Caribbean-American communities.

In November 2016, Dozier voted for Trump. In January, Dozier delivered the invocation at a Broward Republican Party meeting. Days after Trump's inauguration, Dozier thanked God "for the election of President Donald J. Trump, who was elected by the forgotten men and women of America, who will make America great again."

Dozier, 69, who has been pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach for 32 years, now says he's lost respect for the president based on his actions in office.

The complete and unequivocal takedown of the Republican president comes from someone who's been preaching the gospel of the Republican Party for decades, attempting to convince black voters that the party has far more to offer them than the Democrats.

Among many roles, Dozier has been a Republican committeeman for much of the time since the early 1990s, was the honorary state chairman for Rick Santorum's 2012 presidential campaign and an appointee of former Gov. Jeb Bush to the panel that recommends judicial appointments.

Dozier said Trump has driven him away from the Republican Party -- and is driving the Republican Party toward ruin. Dozier changed his voter registration on Tuesday, becoming a no party affiliation/independent voter after decades as a Republican. He said the only Democratic presidential candidate he voted for was Jimmy Carter in 1976, something he later regretted.

'Red meat' to base

Dozier's critique largely centers on Trump's racial attitudes and on the way he conducts himself in office -- especially since the racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12 when white supremacist, neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan demonstrators gathered in support of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. One woman was killed and two state troopers died in a helicopter crash.

"The Charlottesville situation really, really pushed me over the edge," Dozier explained. "I was praying for Trump. I was praying for him to come out and denounce the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis and the white supremacist groups." Dozier said he prayed about what to do. He started writing his thoughts, then was sidelined by a health issue, then resumed writing his thoughts a few weeks ago.

Instead, Trump delivered numerous statements with a variety of messages. He said there were some "very fine people" among the white supremacist, neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan demonstrators, and that "both sides" shared blame for the violence that erupted there.

Later, when Trump issued a stronger statement, Dozier said it was obviously forced. "He did not unequivocally denounce them, clearly and plainly. He didn't do it from his heart. He didn't do it because he truly wanted to. He did if from a sort of necessity."