Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has cancelled his Monday press conference where 100 black church leaders were expected to endorse him, reports NBC News.
Trump was expected to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. ET on Monday to announce the support of up to 100 religious leaders from many early primary states.
But Trump posted on Twitter Sunday: “Will be meeting on Monday at Trump Tower with a large group of African American Pastors. Many I know-wonderful people! Not a press event.”
In a follow-up tweet, he said: “After my meeting with the pastors, it’s off to Georgia for a big rally – many thousands of great people will be there, a beautiful movement!”
Trump cancelled the press conference after many of the religious leaders invited said that they will meet with him but do not plan on endorsing him.
From NBC News:
“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.
Trump’s campaign “thought it was going to be a press conference for an endorsement when it wasn’t,” Scott said Sunday in an interview.
Scott estimated that more than 100 preachers would nonetheless be meeting with Trump on Monday, despite criticism in an open letter in Ebony magazine from more than 100 black religious leaders.
The black religious leaders faced backlash from the African-American community after it was announced that they would meet with Trump and endorse him.
The senior pastor of the Holy Spirit Cathedral of Faith in Detroit defended herself on Facebook after it was announced that she would be meeting with Trump. She said that her Facebook inbox was “blowing up with inquiries.”
“Let me be clear,” she wrote on Facebook. “I was invited to attend a gathering of clergy to listen to Mr. Trump on Monday November 30. I respectively declined as I do not support nor will endorse Donald Trump.”
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.”