A press conference scheduled for Monday, where GOP front runner Donald Trump had expected to announce the support of black clergymen, has been cancelled after the pastors blasted the campaign for announcing they would be endorsing him, reports CNN.
A scheduled private meeting with black pastors was supposed to be followed by a press conference where, according to the campaign: “A coalition of 100 African American Evangelical pastors and religious leaders will endorse the GOP front runner after a private meeting at Trump Tower.”
This did not sit well with prospective attendees, many of whom claim that they had no intention of endorsing Trump, with one calling him “an insult and embarrassment. But he represents the country we have become.”
Bishop Paul S. Morton of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship tweeted on Friday that he had refused to meet with Trump, saying that the candidate lacks “respect for people.”
“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,” Morton wrote.
Faced with a potential disaster on their hands should the attending pastors address the reporters in front of the candidate, the Trump campaign called off the press conference and stated the meeting would remain private — no press allowed.
“On Monday, Mr. Trump will host an informational meet and greet with many members of the Coalition of African American Ministers,” Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks said on Sunday. “This is not a press event, but a private meeting, after which, a number of attendees are expected to endorse Mr. Trump’s campaign for President.”
In an op-ed published by EBONY magazine on Friday, Christian activists asked pastors who might back Trump to consider the implications of endorsing a candidate who is considered by many to be an unrepentant racist.
“By siding with a presidential candidate whose rhetoric pathologizes Black people, what message are you sending to the world about the Black lives in and outside of your congregations? Which Black lives do you claim to be liberating,” the leaders wrote.