Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Let's Re-Visit The Hubbub That Herr Trumpf Caused With The Black Ministers-- His Attempts To Buy Their Endorsements Were Rebuffed


Last Friday we covered Trumpf's announcement that he and his crony, Darrell Scott, had corralled 100 black ministers for a press conference and endorsement ceremony at Trump Tower on Monday. Many of the ministers whose names were being bandied about-- and who appeared on the Trumpf posters for the "event"-- then claimed Trumpf's announcement of endorsements was news to them... and in more than a few cases, unwelcome and unpleasant news. Like the very prominent Detroit Bishop, Corletta Vaughn of Detroit, who appeared on the poster without her permission, had already declined the invitation and said "You’ve got to be kidding me... There is no way in the world I can do that."
Bishop Corletta Vaughn, the Senior Pastor of the Holy Spirit Cathedral of Faith in Detroit, posted a message on Facebook after she said her inbox was “blowing up with inquiries” after her name was included on a list of pastors meeting Trump.

“Let me be clear,” she wrote. “I was invited to attend a gathering of clergy to listen to Mr. Trump on Monday November 30. I respectively (Sic.) declined as I do not support nor will endorse Donald Trump.”

“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,” Bishop Paul Morton, a prominent pastor in Atlanta tweeted on Friday.

...The Trump camp’s own announcement that 100 black ministers will endorse Trump has been greeted in the black faith community with a combination of confusion and anger, particularly after a week in which Trump has mocked a New York Times reporter with a disability, suggested that a black protester who was kicked and punched at a Trump rally in Alabama “deserved it,” and when Trump himself has suggested Muslims be surveilled at certain mosques.

Recent polls show Trump getting between three and 10 percent support from African Americans. Trump has assured his crowds he will win the black vote.

“The 100 pastors they say are endorsing Donald Trump? I don’t know where those 100 are coming from,” said Rev. Jamal Bryant, a prominent AME pastor based in Baltimore. Bryant, who earlier this year ran for Congress as a Democrat, said he had spoken with a number of the pastors attending the Monday meeting who were taken aback by the Trump announcement about the endorsements. “I don’t know what policy these pastors could mobilize around. I can’t find a strand of any policy he has that the larger black community would be respond to.”

Bryant said that he finds Trump’s larger message to minorities to be disturbing and troubling. “It’s a cross between Archie Bunker and reality television,” Bryant said. “It’s frightening and unnerving that the Republicans would be at this point with him as their frontrunner.”
Trump wasted no time to blame BlackLivesMatter for pressuring the pastors to "abandon" him. He immediately ran to Trumpf-Central-- AKA, MSNBC's shameless Morning Joe-- and claimed, once again showing no understanding whatsoever of the BlackLivesMatter movement, "probably some of the Black Lives Matter folks called them up that 'You shouldn’t be meeting with Trump because he believes that all lives matter.' I believe black lives do matter, but I believe all lives matter very strongly. I do think that pressure was put on them when they heard there was a meeting by people that maybe disagree with certain things."

Trump's hoped for public spectacle with 100 black ministers was scaled back and made into a 2-hour private meeting between him and a handful of clergymen, not all of whom were supportive of Trump as a candidate in any way. Pastor Brehon Hall, a preacher from Toledo, Ohio told a NY Times reporter as he was heading into the meeting that "It appears as if he’s a possible racist based upon some of the things he said about black America." The Times also reported that "During the meeting on Monday, black ministers challenged Mr. Trump over his record, and suggested he apologize for his incendiary language." Bishop George Bloomer, of North Carolina asked Trumpf if he's a racist and told him to "tone down the rhetoric. And he said that he would." Trump, as always, lied his ass off to the imbeciles in the media, claiming "The beautiful thing about the meeting is that they didn't really ask me to change the tone. I think they really want to see victory, because ultimately it is about, we want to win and we want to win together."
Pressure to endorse Mr. Trump hovered over the meeting, according to attendees, who said that cards pledging support were handed out for them to sign while Mr. Trump was in the room.

Mr. Trump brushed off the brouhaha over the meeting, and said he received “many, many endorsements” from the ministers. But the campaign declined to offer a list of either the ministers who attended or those who had endorsed him. After the meeting, a single religious leader, Darrell Scott, a Cleveland-area minister who helped organize the session, publicly endorsed Mr. Trump in the lobby of the building, overlooking Fifth Avenue.

...Despite the public expressions of skepticism, Mr. Trump insisted that several of the ministers expressed admiration for him. After the meeting, the Trump campaign said it would connect a reporter to an attendee who could testify to Mr. Trump’s sincerity. At that point, Bruce LeVell of Atlanta got on the phone.

“It was very successful,” Mr. LeVell said of the meeting. “It was like sitting in his living room having a conversation. There was no tension.”

Other than the organizer of the event, Mr. LeVell was the only participant to provide a quote for a news release issued by Mr. Trump after the gathering.

It turns out, however, that Mr. LeVell is not a minister. He is a local Republican politician in Georgia. The campaign later apologized for the confusion, saying Mr. LeVell “is a prominent member” of his church.

On Monday night he was headed home to Atlanta on Mr. Trump’s private plane. Mr. Trump, he said, had invited him aboard.

“I got a free ticket,” Mr. LeVell explained.
The only 100 black ministers I heard about doing something as a group were the ones-- over 100 actually-- wrote in an open letter to ­ that they were "deeply confounded" that their colleagues would meet with a candidate who "routinely uses overtly divisive and racist language on the campaign trail." The letter also states that Trumpf’s "politics are so clearly anti-Black... We are concerned that your choice to meet with Mr. Trump, particularly in such a visible way, will not only de-radicalize the Black prophetic political tradition, but will also give Trump the appearance of legitimacy among those who follow your leadership and respect your position as clergy. Mr.Trump will use that legitimacy to gain Black political support, while using that support to govern in a way that harms Black communities. Surely, Black people have been misused and abused by politicians long enough. Surely we can count on our clergypersons not to actively facilitate this kind of treatment of our people, many of whom are the 'least of these.'... 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?"

That should be the end of the story, right? Well... do you remember that far right extremist who ran for Lt. Governor of Virginia in 2013, E.W. Jackson, also a black minister? A homophobic psychopath on the fringes of the extreme right, "Bishop" Jackson sent out a letter yesterday to his followers explaining "Why Donald Trump Must Not Be The First Choice of Black Ministers." His point is that "Unlike others, ministers are under certain biblical restrictions which should control decisions regarding the candidates we should support. The first is found in Matthew 6:33, which commands Christians to "seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness..." Therefore we should seek first the candidate who represents the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Is that Donald Trump? I think not. When asked his favorite scripture, he refused, saying, 'It’s very private.' Evangelicals concluded from his response that he doesn't know enough about the Bible to have a favorite verse. He later tried to clean up that faux pau by saying that his favorite verse is one in Proverbs that talks about envy. No one has been able to identify the particular verse. Many will argue that such considerations have no place in American politics, but this is like saying that a doctor should not take into consideration a candidate's views on medicine and healthcare. Ministers should bring our own unique perspective and set of concerns to the evaluation of candidates. The best way to assure that a candidate understands and supports the issues which Christians confront today, is for that candidate to be a committed member of the Christian community... [F]or the black ministers who are flirting with supporting the billionaire, hoping perhaps that he will share some of those billions with the black community, if past performance is any indication, that is not going to happen. It should not be the basis for endorsement anyway."

Or maybe some of them were just thinking instead of lining their own pockets with Trumpf largesse the way Pastor Darrell Scott has.

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