The campaign for GOP candidate Donald Trump was mum Saturday when approached by CNN for comments about anticipated endorsements by African-American religious leaders that seems to be going awry.
Conservative media has trumpeted a scheduled meeting Monday in Manhattan between Trump and what a press release described as “a coalition of 100 African American Evangelical pastors and religious leaders who will endorse the GOP frontrunner after a private meeting at Trump Tower.”
But according to CNN, the fallout has already started. Some of the religious leaders who said they were invited to attend have publicly stated they will not endorse Trump and will refuse the invitation. Others had some flat-out negative things to say about the candidate.
“I was asked 2 meet with Mr Trump too but I refused because until he learns how to respect people you can’t represent me thru my endorsement,” tweeted Bishop Paul S. Morton of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship.
Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Senior Pastor of The Holy Ghost Cathedral, said she was also invited but will refuse.
“Trump is an insult and embarrassment. But he represents the country we have become,” she wrote on her Facebook page.. “ZERO experience … Flaunting a ticket of unbridled bigotry, sexism, racism and everything that is wrong with America.”
Los Angeles-based Bishop Clarence McClendon said he was invited, but will not attended. He then pointed out that the meeting was not presented as an endorsement.
“Bishop McClendon was INVITED to attend Monday’s meeting and his name was used as an invitee, but had made no plans to attend the meeting and indeed will NOT be in attendance,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Bishop McClendon has NOT made up his mind for whom he will vote in the upcoming election and had previously determined that he would not make any decision until after January 2016.”
In a scathing op-ed for EBONY, over 100 African-American academic and faith leaders urged colleagues not to endorse “anti-Black” Trump.
“Mr. Trump routinely uses overtly divisive and racist language on the campaign trail. Most recently, he admitted his supporters were justified for punching and kicking a Black protester who had attended a Trump rally with the intent to remind the crowd that ‘Black Lives Matter,'” the op-ed reads. “Trump followed this action by tweeting inaccurate statistics about crime prevalence rates in Black communities — insinuating that Black people are more violent than other groups.”
Last week, white Trump supporters were filmed punching and kicking a black protester at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama. Trump can be heard saying “Get him the hell out of here” over the microphone. Last month, a Latino protester was dragged by a Trump rally attendee.
Trump came under fire recently for tweeting bogus crime statistics used as propaganda by white supremacists, painting black people as more violent than other communities.