Flint Pastor Interrupts Donald Trump: Knock Off The Trash Talk About Hillary!
A Flint pastor who invited Donald Trump to speak at her church interrupted him in the middle of his speech on Wednesday to ask that the Republican presidential nominee stop talking trash about the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
A statement given at the event by Rev. Faith Green Timmons of Bethel United Methodist Church explained Trump’s visit to the Flint church as a result of her church’s policy to welcome everyone. She made it clear, however, that welcoming Trump did not mean that her church endorsed him for presidential office.
“This public event is open to all and today Donald Trump came to observe. Trump’s presence at Bethel United Methodist in no way represents an endorsement of his candidacy.”
The speech in Flint, according to KVAL, was to have been about how the federal government, presumably under Trump’s presidential authority, would step in to help the people of Flint after their own government had failed them. He was also expected to speak about the gains the citizens of Flint had made for themselves in the wake of the discovery of the toxic water supply. However, during Trump’s remarks, the candidate shifted focus and began to blame Clinton’s support of free trade agreements for Flint’s economic struggles.
“Hillary failed on the economy. Just like she’s failed on foreign policy. Everything she touched didn’t work out. Nothing. Now Hillary Clinton…”
At this moment, Timmons approached the podium where he was speaking to ask him to stop politicizing his appearance at the church.
“Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not give a political speech.”
Trump acquiesced to the Flint pastor, but not before saying, “Flint’s pain is a result of so many different failures.”
Flint has a majority African-American population, according to CNN, which makes it an ideal campaign stop for Trump, who has been recently reaching out to black voters. The visit did not go as smoothly as Trump wished. Inquisitr reports on a Trump visit to a Detroit church less than two weeks ago where he encountered approximately 200 protesters outside of a mainly African-American church. In addition to the pastor of the Flint church rebuking Trump and interrupting his remarks, there were other moments of the Flint visit described by CNN as “awkward,” including hecklers who dogged him during his visit.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) September 14, 2016
One heckler accused the nominee of referring to black people as “lazy.” The Flint pastor made a point to be fair to Trump after a heckler called out that he “discriminated against black tenants,” a charge that more than likely refers to a 1973 civil rights lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against both Trump and his father that alleged improprieties in their rental policies. While Trump denied the heckler’s charge, Timmons again interrupted him — only this time it was to defend him.
“This is my church and you will respect him.”
Flint is an important campaign stop for the presidential nominees, who must address the city’s toxic water supply. Over 100,000 residents of Flint drank lead-contaminated water after the city switched from using Detroit’s water reserves and began to use water from the Flint River, which had not been properly treated for human consumption, says KVAL.
For his part, Trump has not spoken directly about the toxic water in Flint and declined to comment on the matter when the crisis first gained national attention in January. Trump stopped at the Flint water plant during his visit to the city on Wednesday, but did not focus on the water crisis while speaking at the church. Instead, the nominee spoke about the loss of manufacturing jobs due to outsourcing and trade agreements that he claims have crippled Flint’s economy.
“Well, it’s a shame what’s happening in Flint, Michigan. A thing like that shouldn’t happen, but again I don’t want to comment on that. They’ve got a very difficult problem.”
All told, Trump’s speech in Flint lasted for six minutes and his departure from the church was accompanied by the calls of hecklers. This visit to Flint by Trump was also important in his quest to gain ground in the Midwest, says KVAL. With recent polls showing Trump losing in Michigan, there is no doubt the Republican candidate had hoped for a more positive outcome.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]