Pastor Mark Burns of Harvest Praise and Worship Center in Easley, South Carolina, says he saved U.S. President Donald Trump from a poisonous spider bite when he was in the Oval Office earlier this week.
Burns posted an 11-minute video on Twitter Wednesday where he revealed that the incident took place on Monday, when he and a group of evangelical leaders presented Trump with the "Friends of Zion" Award for his decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The pastor, who has been a strong supporter of the president, explained that he was at the Oval Office to present Trump with the award for "his courageousness," when in his peripheral vision he saw a movement going up Trump's back.
"It was this massive, huge white spider. And it was darting toward the back of his neck," Burns recalled.
He thought to himself, "can anyone else see this?"
He noted that nobody else seemed to react, and it was happening so fast that his first instinct was "kill the spider, protect Donald Trump."
Burns said that he smacked the president's back, killing the spider in the process — not an easy thing for him to do, given his fear of spiders.
"I cannot stand spiders, I have always had a fear of spiders, but because it was the president of the Untied Sates of America, and I saw it running literally toward his neck," he felt that he had to act.
Later on in the video the pastor said that it was a yellow sac spider that he killed, which according to the website VenomousSpiders.net, is poisonous.
The website clarifies that the spider's bite "has mild and local cytotoxic and neurotoxic effects," though no fatal incident has ever been recorded.
Still, the bite is "quite painful from the outset. A person usually develops redness, swelling, and itching near the site of the bite. Redness disappears after about 72 hours, and the skin heals in a week or two."
Burns said that Trump is a "man's man" and that he wasn't startled by the pastor smacking him on the back, even though the room went quiet with people wondering what had happened.
The South Carolina preacher then turned to Secret Service agents and said, "please don't shoot me." When Trump asked whether the spider was dead, he presented the dead arachnid in his hand as evidence.
"I was not going to let this spider bite the president of the United Sates," he said.
He explained the sitaution and said, "I saved you Mr. President," joking that he "deserves a medal" for his actions. He said that everyone present laughed at the incident.
Monday's Oval Office meeting included several big name Christian leaders, including Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, James Dobson of Family Talk Radio, televangelist Paula White, Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, African-American Pastor Harry Jackson, and former Southern Baptist Convention President Jack Graham, among others.
Dobson called it an "incredible meeting" where the evangelical leaders prayed for Trump.
"There is a great deal of love between these evangelical leaders and the congregations that they represent, and I think the president in return," he said.