Big buzz garnered this week around news that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would be delivering his first speech before congregants at a black church in Detroit, Michigan.
It turns out, it was all a farce.
Trump’s campaign announced the event on Monday claiming that the candidate would attend Great Faith Ministries to address churchgoers to “outline policies that will impact minorities and the disenfranchised in our country” and answer questions “that are relevant to the African-American community,” according to a statement from Trump surrogate Pastor Mark Burns.
Instead, according to the Detroit Free Press, Trump’s appearance will only include a one-on-one interview with the church’s pastor Bishop Wayne T. Jackson. The interview, which will be conducted on the church’s Impact Network, won’t air to the public until at least one week after it's taped.
“He’ll be here Saturday. He’s going to sit in service and have the experience in the black church, and then he and I will be in this office and do an interview for the Impact Network that will be aired later on,” Jackson told the paper. “Just like any visitor, there will be fellowship at the service, and he can talk to people one-on-one.”
Trump’s resignation from speaking to black voters in Detroit comes on the heels of a new push from his campaign to expand his outreach efforts to black communities. However, so far, attempts to court the black vote, which have been laid out in a number of troubling speeches, have sparked criticism around Trump for merely reinforcing his own base of white, anti-black supporters than to show any real concern for the issues black voters demand that candidates address.
Jackson, who told the Detroit Free Press that he has always voted for Democrats, said he feels the same way. He also said he plans to ask Trump if he’s a Christian, and if he’s racist.
“He needs to come to African-American communities,” he told the paper. “You can’t talk to African Americans in white venues.”
However, Jackson still believes Trump’s visit, which may include a private meeting with a small group of church-goers, will be beneficial in some way.
“My congregation trusts my judgment,” he said. “They know that I’m not going to put anything or anyone in front of them that I feel is going to be harmful, and I feel we should have an educated conversation about what you’re going to do.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.