In a recent YouTube video, Mississippi pastor Shane Vaughn argued that President Joe Biden was possessed by Satan during his “The Battle for the Soul of America” speech on September 1. In that speech, Biden spoke strongly against those who continue to deny the results of the 2020 presidential election, urging Americans to stand for democracy.
Vaughn has become increasingly well known among certain segments of the online evangelical community for his Trump-related conspiracy theories, as well as his denunciations of pandemic safety measures and mandates. He serves as pastor of First Harvest Ministries in Waveland, Mississippi, and posts video content online in a persona he has named “Professor Toto.”
The speech Biden gave at Independence Hall in Philadelphia has been controversial, particularly among Republicans who felt personally slighted by the president’s words—including Vaughn.
During the speech, Biden said, “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” As he spoke, Biden stood against a deep red backdrop and was flanked by two Marines.
“Something hit [Biden] when he got up there. I know what that something was: the power of Satan himself,” Vaughn said in his video. “Just like Senator Palpatine in Star Wars. He can barely walk until Satan touches him, and then he becomes this rough and tough—but he’s a coward without Satan’s power.”
Vaughn continued, “When he came there, the drugs kicked in, and he delivered a commanding speech, oh yes, by his standards. He started off real hoarse, but like a pro, he managed to get over it, fumbled over the first few words, and then Satan took over.”
“Joe-bama spent weeks preparing this speech and the background. This is something that was set up by Satan himself,” Vaughn said, apparently making simultaneous accusations that former president Barack Obama exerts control over the Biden administration and that Obama is himself a demonic figure.
Since the “Soul for America” speech, President Biden has walked back some of his more harsh comments, and the White House has continued to contend that the speech was not divisive.
“I don’t consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country,” Biden said one day after the speech. “I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, fails to condemn violence when it’s used, refuses to acknowledge when an election has been won, insists upon changing the way in which the rules—you count votes—that is a threat to democracy.”