NEW YORK (AP) — Dozens of black pastors pressed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Monday to address what some called his use of racially charged rhetoric, with several describing a meeting that became tense at times as attendees raised concerns about his blunt language.
While some left the gathering at Trump's skyscraper in midtown Manhattan with hopes their message had resonated, Trump said afterward he had no plans to change his approach, which he said had taken him to “first position in every single poll.”
“The beautiful thing about the meeting is that they didn't really ask me to change the tone,” Trump said. “I think they really want to see victory, because ultimately it is about, we want to win and we want to win together.”
At a rally later Monday in Macon, Georgia, Trump told a nearly all-white audience of about 5,000 that the meeting was “inspiring” and “unbelievable.”
“It was a really terrific day,” he said.
But several pastors who met in New York with the billionaire real estate mogul, who has held a consistent lead in preference polls of GOP voters for several months due in large part to his aggressive style of campaigning, said the session was a bit more complicated.
Bishop George Bloomer, who traveled to the gathering from North Carolina, said he arrived in New York with concerns about “the racial comments that have been made and the insensitive comments that have been made,” including an incident earlier this month in which a black protester was roughed up by Trump supporters at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama.
Trump said after the incident, “Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”
“I asked him: ‘Are you a racist? People are saying that about you,'” Bloomer said. “If you are seeking the African-American ...read more