Those 100 Black Pastors: "We Never Said We Would Endorse Trump."

 

Last week, Trump made a major deal out of the fact that 100 black pastors were going to endorse him after a major meeting with him at Trump tower. This announcement was touted in a major way, to the point that it was reported virtually everywhere as major news. And in fact, it would have been major news. As my colleague streiff noted yesterday, the fact that such a large number of black pastors would have found it socially acceptable to endorse Trump in public would have been at least credible evidence of Trump’s appeal to black voters (which he has been boasting about on the campaign trail despite the complete lack of evidence that he has any).

Trump’s statement on the matter was clear and unequivocal:

The meeting was described by the campaign in a press release 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.”

Here is the actual truth of what occurred – Trump invited 100 black pastors to meet with him. Apparently he did not tell them that by accepting the invitation they were agreeing to endorse him. Not even all 100 agreed to come – some did, with an aim towards talking to Trump about some of his rhetoric and encouraging him to calm down a bit. The end result was that instead of a meeting of 100 black pastors who endorsed Trump is that there were significantly less than 100 black pastors who met with Trump, most of whom actively opposed him:

Bishop Clarence McClendon, a Los Angeles-based pastor who like Trump has appeared on reality television, was invited to the meeting but will not attend.

“The meeting was presented not as a meeting to endorse but a meeting to engage in dialogue,” he said Friday on Facebook.

“The Preachers of L.A.” star said he will not make up his mind to endorse until January 2016.

Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Senior Pastor of The Holy Ghost Cathedral and a star of the Oxygen reality series “Preachers of Detroit,” said she was invited to the meeting but will not attend nor endorse Trump.

“Trump is an insult and embarrassment. But he represents the country we have become,” she said Wednesday on Facebook. “ZERO experience … Flaunting a ticket of unbridled bigotry, sexism, racism and everything that is wrong with America.”

The Trump campaign has not responded to CNN request for comment on the issue Saturday, and in their announcement, the campaign did not specify, which religious leaders were invited to Monday’s meeting.

The meeting was described by the campaign in a press release 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.”

Bishop Paul S. Morton tweeted Friday that he refused to meet with Trump, calling the candidate disrespectful.

“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,” the founder of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship tweeted.

Those who did attend were equally clear that they were not there to endorse Trump, thus leading to the embarrassing phenomenon that Trump was insulted on social media by numerous people whose endorsement he had claimed less than two hours earlier:

The majority of a group of prominent African American ministers scheduled to meet with Donald Trump Monday are making clear that they have made no commitments to endorse the real estate magnate. Their public declarations of non-endorsement come after a press release from the Trump campaign announced a coalition of 100 African American religious leaders will appear with the real estate mogul shortly after the meeting to endorse him.

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In fact, of the pastors scheduled to meet with Trump earlier in the day, so far only one, Pastor Darrell Scott, has said he will attend the press conference to endorse Trump.

In an interview with the Daily Beast on Friday, Scott said that he had organized Monday’s meeting between Trump and black clergy, but that his invitation was for them to meet with Trump, not to endorse him.

Whoops.

This morning on CNN, John King relayed a comment from a focus group independent voter who was asked about Trump, and likened him to Buzz Lightyear in the first Toy Story movie – supremely confident, but he humor value is that he’s unaware that he’s just a child’s toy.