Black religious leaders have said that they will not stand any “insult and embarrassment.” Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump canceled a news conference in which his campaign stated he would be approved by exactly 100 black religious leaders. However, many of those invited to the event clearly said that they had no intention of supporting the billionaire businessman.
“It’s a miscommunication,” said Darrell Scott, the senior pastor of New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who has helped to arrange meetings between Trump and black pastors in recent months.
Conservative media has widely proclaimed a scheduled meeting on 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.” However, according to CNN, disagreement has already begun. Many of the religious leaders who said they were invited to attend have openly said 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 to meet with Mr. Trump too but I refused because until he learns how to respect people you can’t represent me through 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.”
Ebony magazine also wrote an open letter to the religious leaders, titled: “Think of Trump’s Rhetoric before Meeting with Him.”
They argued that they shouldn’t meet with Trump because he, “routinely uses overtly divisive and racist language on the campaign trail.” They added that, “Trump’s racially inaccurate, insensitive and incendiary rhetoric should give those charged with the care of the spirits and souls of Black people great pause. As people of God, you are surely aware of the emotional, spiritual, and physical toll continued structural and state violence takes on black people.”
In the letter, they also expressed fear that the meeting would “give Trump the appearance of legitimacy among those who follow your leadership and respect your position as clergy.”
Trump was also involved in a religious argument when he claimed several times that thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 attacks. There’s no evidence that actually took place. However, Trump has said hundreds of Twitter followers have tweeted at him, saying they saw the same thing.