Donald Trump’s campaign announced last week that at least 100 black ministers and religious leaders would endorse him on Monday for president. But Sunday night, he abruptly canceled that press conference, the Associated Press reports.
The sudden cancellation comes after several invited ministers said they were blindsided. Using social media, they acknowledged Trump’s invitation to a meeting but said they were unaware that it was to endorse him. Some of them said they had no intention of supporting Trump.
Pastor Darrell Scott, a Trump supporter who helped organize the meeting, blamed the mix-up on “miscommunication,” according to AP.
Scott, the senior pastor of New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, told AP that Trump’s campaign “thought it was going to be a press conference for an endorsement when it wasn’t.”
Pressure to cancel the endorsement gathering also came on Friday when a group of black clergy and religious scholars wrote an open letter, published on Ebony.com, that urged the invited ministers not to endorse Trump.
“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?” they asked.
A campaign spokeswoman told AP that Trump would still meet privately with black ministers but would not comment further on the cancellation.
Trump had announced the endorsements shortly after stirring racial controversy. He declined to reprimand his white supporters who beat a Black Lives Matter protester at a Birmingham, Ala., rally, and days later, he retweeted false crime figures that stated blacks are responsible for the vast majority of murders of white people.
Read more at the Associated Press.