Last week, Donald Trump mocked a reporter's disability, retweeted a neo-Nazi infographic, advised people to report on their neighbors' activities to the police, and dismissively waved his hand at the idea of "historians knowing what they're talking about."
Feeling no post-Thanksgiving hangover, Trump has started this week off with a bang, blaming Black Lives Matter for his campaign turning a supposed public endorsement announcement from "over 100" black clergy members into a "private event" where no media would be allowed and where he would likely be scolded for his rhetoric.
According to the Associated Press, Trump, who is set to meet with 100 black evangelical clergy members on Monday, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that some of the ministers and pastors might not be endorsing him because he believes "all lives matter."
"Probably some of the Black Lives Matter folks called them up and said, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be meeting with Trump because he believes all lives matter,’” Trump said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” referring to the movement protesting against police brutality and the killing of unarmed African-Americans.
According to the people invited to meet with Trump, meanwhile, many objected that the meeting was being described as an endorsement event by his campaign. The campaign then cancelled a planned press conference that was intended to announce the black clergy's support, and rebranded it as "a private, informational meet-and-greet with many members of the Coalition of African American Ministers.”
Last week, in an open letter to the clergy invited to meet with Trump on Ebony, 100 black religious leaders and scholars wrote to ask the ministers not to meet with Trump and give him "the appearance of legitimacy" among their congregations. The letter also criticized Trump's actions on the campaign trail and his "racially inaccurate, insensitive and incendiary rhetoric." It closes with a question:
"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?"
Speaking on "Morning Joe," Trump said he has “a great relationship with the black pastors.”
Trump also hedged, saying “I have no idea what the meeting is really. … We’ll see what happens. I don’t know it it’s an endorsement, I don’t know if it’s an endorsement by some.”
It might not be the rosiest meeting: The New York Times quotes meeting organizer Darrell Scott as saying that Trump could expect to "hear some disappointment in the meeting with how he has addressed issues related to race."
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org