*Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump canceled his public event scheduled for Monday where he had planned to announce endorsements from black pastors, after a number of them came out to clarify that a “meeting” does not mean an “endorsement.”
Trump sent out word to media outlets last week that he would hold an early afternoon news conference Monday to announce the endorsement of his campaign by “100 African American Evangelical pastors and religious leaders…after a private meeting.”
On Sunday he tweeted: “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.”
He did not reveal the names of the people he expected to meet.
In an open letter published on the website of Ebony Magazine, 114 academics and church leaders warned the pastors that meeting with Trump would be a mistake.
“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,” the letter said.
“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.”
Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks, confirmed that the previously scheduled event had been canceled. She did not indicate whether the open letter influenced Trump’s decision to cancel Monday’s press conference.
Hicks said the change had first been made public on Saturday, when an update to the previously announced event described it as an “informal meet and greet” that was “not a press event” and “after which a number of attendees are expected endorse Mr. Trump’s campaign.”