By Rosaland Tyler
New Journal and Guide
Condemning Trump ahead of the meeting planned with clergy on Monday (November 30) , Sharpton said the pastors should ask the GOP candidate tough questions. Black congregations have been offended by Trump’s stances on refugees, immigration and guns.
“If you meet with Mr. Trump, don’t let him off the hook,” Sharpton said at his Harlem headquarters in recent news reports. “They should have a real meeting, or admit they’re just props.”
But many of the religious leaders invited to the meet-and-greet with Trump were surprised that the gathering was being advertised by his campaign as an endorsement and objected to participating in the press conference.
Following the disagreement, the Trump campaign decided to keep the meeting private and quietly canceled the press conference afterward that had been called to announce their support.
“It would be an insult to our community to not really deal with the issues,” he said. “Then, they would be offending their congregants and offending their cloth.”
In a recent press release, the Trump campaign touted the event as featuring “100 African-American evangelical pastors and religious leaders who will endorse the GOP front-runner after a private meeting at Trump Tower.’’
But the campaign later rebranded the event as “a private, informational meet-and-greet with many members of the Coalition of African American Ministers.’’
The cancellation came after an incident last weekend in which a Black Lives Matter protester was manhandled at a campaign rally in Alabama. Trump responded to the incident by suggesting “Maybe he should have been roughed up” and later tweeted a chart that featured a menacing depiction of a Black gunman and statistics that overstated the percentage of white murder victims killed by Blacks.
Bishop Hezekiah Walker, of Love Fellowship Tabernacle church in Brooklyn, one of 15 names listed on a flier announcing the event, said in an Instagram post that recent name-calling by Trump were behind his decision to skip the meeting altogether.
“I also want it to be clear that I never had any intentions on endorsing Mr. Donald Trump” and would “never [have] been persuaded to,” he added.