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Trump Meets Privately With Black Pastors After Confusion Over Endorsement


Donald Trump held a meeting with black pastors today in New York. The event was initially billed by the Trump campaign as an endorsement. But NPR's Sam Sanders says that those who were invited had other ideas.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Trump had promised 100 black pastors, but only about 50 showed up to Trump Tower for the meeting. And it went long.

VICTOR COUZENS: The meeting was two-and-a-half hours.

SANDERS: That's Victor Couzens, a pastor who came from Ohio for the meeting. Couzens said it was pretty good.

COUZENS: He seemed to be in a good mood. The mood in the room overall was very positive. No one was, you know, angry or upset or anything of that nature.

SANDERS: A poster for the event had listed the names of black pastors who planned to publicly endorse Trump today. But over the last few days, several pastors named in the announcement said they never promised him an endorsement. They just wanted to talk about a lot of Trump's rhetoric on race. Victor Couzens says those who did show up today asked Trump how he planned to deal with things like black unemployment, the Black Lives Matter movement and racial unrest in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. Couzens says Trump listened, but there was one thing he did not do.

COUZENS: He did not offer an apology in our presence.

SANDERS: And in a press conference after the event, Trump also seemed unapologetic about the tone of his campaign.


DONALD TRUMP: The tone has taken me to first position in every single poll, including state and including national polls.

SANDERS: He went on to say he would address the issues raised at the meeting. Pastor Corletta Vaughn was invited to the meeting, but she declined. She says she would meet with Trump under a few conditions.

CORLETTA VAUGHN: I would sit down with Trump on my terms, maybe possibly in a black church where we can see how comfortable he is in our space.

SANDERS: Trump has not yet indicated if any meeting of that sort will take place. Sam Sanders, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.