Donald Trump has canceled a press conference that was supposed to follow a meeting with approximately 100 black pastors on Monday, after finding out the purpose of the meeting was not to earn the religious leaders' endorsement.
The Trump campaign initially promoted the event by saying the GOP candidate would earn the support of the pastors at the meeting, and announce it later at a press conference. But over the weekend, many of the pastors who had been invited said they had no plans to endorse the candidate.
Trump's campaign said the private meeting will still happen, and that the candidate still expects to earn endorsements from "a number of attendees," according to Talking Points Memo.
"On Monday, Mr. Trump will host an informational meet-and-greet with many members of the Coalition of African-American Ministers," Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told The New York Times. "This is not a press event, but a private meeting, after which, a number of attendees are expected to endorse Mr. Trump’s campaign for president."
Trump told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday that he had been told the original meeting was to be an endorsement event.
"I think what happened, probably it gets publicity -- unfortunately, everything I do gets publicity -- and probably some of the Black Lives Matter folks called them up and said, 'You shouldn't be meeting with Trump because he believes all lives matter,'" he said.
Darrell Scott, an Ohio pastor who arranged the meeting, took blame for what he called a "miscommunication on my part, which led some folks to believe there would be a unilateral endorsement."
A separate group of black religious leaders wrote an open letter on Ebony on Friday, expressing "concern" about joining forces with Trump.
Trump has come under fire recently for his comments regarding a black protester who was punched and kicked by Trump supporters at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama.
"Maybe he should have been roughed up," Trump said.
A day after the black protester was attacked, Trump tweeted a chart of inaccurate crime statistics that seemed to perpetuate myths about black people and crime.
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m. -- At an impromptu press conference after the two-and-a-half-hour meeting at Trump Tower in New York City, Trump promised he would address concerns from the black community about the economy and racial discrimination.
"There were unbelievable solutions, I think, to problems that we will solve that other people won't solve," Trump said, adding that he had an "amazing" discussion with the black ministers.
One pastor who spoke alongside Trump after the meeting said "some" of the attendees had endorsed him, but that others had decided to pray before making a final decision.
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