Bishop George Bloomer of Bethel Family Worship Center in Durham, North Carolina arrived at Monday’s meeting with Donald Trump with great skepticism about the outcome, especially on issues of race, he told The Associated Press.
When he got a chance to address Trump, he was fairly direct in his questioning.
“I asked him: ‘Are you a racist? People are saying that about you,’” Bloomer told The AP. “If you are seeking the African-American community to support you, at the least, you’re not helping with these kind of things that are going on.”
Further, he told Trump that “if he wants to have our ear as a community, to at least tone down the rhetoric some kind of way, tone it down. And he said that he would,” the report says.
Trump pledged to take their concerns “into consideration.”
After days of controversy over Black ministers’ plan to meet with Trump, the Republican presidential candidate emerged victorious – according to his Twitter.
“Meeting with African-American Pastors at Trump Tower was amazing,” he tweeted about 3 p.m. Monday after the meeting. “Wonderful news conference followed. Now off to Georgia for big speech!”
Trump said more than 100 people attended the two-and-a-half hour meeting, and that he expected “many, many endorsements,” according to CNN.
“This meeting was amazing. Amazing people,” Trump said. “The meeting went so much longer, and it went longer only because of the love. It didn’t go longer for other reasons.”
The billionaire real estate mogul also told CNN he did not make commitments to make financial contributions to the churches represented by the black leaders he met with.
Darrell Scott, a Black pastor who organized the meeting, said a formal endorsement was forthcoming, writes the news outlet.
“We made history today,” Scott said. “We had meaningful dialogue with Mr. Donald Trump. We voiced concerns that are sensitive to the African-American community and we asked questions and the questions were answered where we were all satisfied with the answers.”
The meeting not only ignited controversy, it spawned confusion. Some pastors disputed claims about plans to endorse the real estate mogul. The meeting was widely condemned after Trump retweeted a graphic with erroneous figures about Blacks and murder. He also backed supporters who tackled a Black Lives Matter protester at a Birmingham, Alabama rally.
During a talk Monday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Trump blamed Black Lives Matter activists for blocking the pastors’ endorsements. “‘Oh, you shouldn’t be meeting with Trump because he believes all lives matter,’” he said.
But some pastors told CNN after the meeting that they still had reservations about the candidate because of his rhetoric.
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