Excerpts released today from the new book “The Amateur” by Edward Klein, reveal that an ally of presidential candidate Barack Obama offered Rev. Jeremiah Wright $150,000 to keep his mouth shut until after the 2008 election.
Wright, who was Obama’s pastor in Chicago, became problematic during the campaign after sermons attacking US came out. Among Wright’s most damning sermons to come to light during the election, he said the 9/11 attacks deserved that they were “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” He also encouraged people to sing “God Damn America” rather than “God Bless America”
“After the media went ballistic on me, I received an e-mail offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election,” Wright told Klein, according to the New York Post, which obtained the excerpts. Klein asked who sent the email, and Wright responded that it was one of Obama’s “closest friends”. According to Wright, this friend sent the offer to one of the members of the church, who sent it to him. The amount offered was $150,000
Then Obama himself got involved with a personal plea to Wright to shut up. Klein asked “Did Obama himself ever make an effort to see you?”
“Yes,” Wright said. “Barack said he wanted to meet me in secret, in a secure place. And I said, ‘You’re used to coming to my home, you’ve been here countless times, so what’s wrong with coming to my home?’ So we met in the living room of the parsonage of Trinity United Church of Christ, at South Pleasant Avenue right off 95th Street, just Barack and me. I don’t know if he had a wire on him. His security was outside somewhere.
“And one of the first things Barack said was, ‘I really wish you wouldn’t do any more public speaking until after the November election.’ He knew I had some speaking engagements lined up, and he said, ‘I wish you wouldn’t speak. It’s gonna hurt the campaign if you do that.’
“And what did you say?” I asked. “I said, ‘I don’t see it that way. And anyway, how am I supposed to support my family?’ And he said, ‘Well, I wish you wouldn’t speak in public. The press is gonna eat you alive.’
“Barack said, ‘I’m sorry you don’t see it the way I do. Do you know what your problem is?’ And I said, ‘No, what’s my problem?’ And he said, ‘You have to tell the truth.’ I said, ‘That’s a good problem to have. That’s a good problem for all preachers to have. That’s why I could never be a politician.’
“And he said, ‘It’s going to get worse if you go out there and speak. It’s really going to get worse.’