- (Photo: AP Images / Trinity United Church of Christ)
President Obama's former and controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is now claiming that a close, personal friend of the president offered him $150,000 not to preach until after the 2008 November elections and that Obama wanted to "secretly" meet with him.
Wright made the revelations when he met with Edward Klein in his office at Chicago's Kwame Nkrumah Academy. Klein's revelation of the story first appeared in the New York Post on May 12. He has written a new, unauthorized biography of Obama, titled The Amateur.
"After the media went ballistic on me, I received an email offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election," Wright told the reporter.
In 2008 when then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was campaigning for the White House, Wright delivered a controversial sermon that went viral during the Iowa primaries where Wright screamed, "God **** America." At the time Obama and his wife Michelle were members of Wright's congregation and had given the church over $20,000 in 2007.
When asked about the details of the offer, Wright says a member of his church received an email from a personal friend of Obama offering him $150,000 not to preach through the duration of the election.
How much money did he offer you?" asked the reporter.
"One hundred and fifty thousand dollars," responded Wright.
"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 the 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.'"
Wright also claims that Obama lectured him on having to tell the entire truth. "Barack said, 'I'm sorry you don't see it the way I do. Do you know what your problem is?'
"No, what's my problem?" asked Wright.
"You have to tell the truth," replied Obama.
Formally an editor with New York Times Magazine and Newsweek, Klein is defending his book as factually sound. The book will be released on May 15.