(CNN) — Several black pastors invited to meet with Donald Trump on Monday have denied reports that they had plans to endorse the presidential candidate at the event.
And Trump’s presidential campaign has canceled a press conference with Trump and those religious leaders.
Bishop Clarence McClendon, a Los Angeles-based pastor who like Trump has appeared on reality television, was invited to the meeting but will not attend.
“The meeting was presented not as a meeting to endorse but a meeting to engage in dialogue,” he said Friday on Facebook.
“The Preachers of L.A.” star said he will not make up his mind to endorse until January 2016.
Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Senior Pastor of The Holy Ghost Cathedral and a star of the Oxygen reality series “Preachers of Detroit,” said she was invited to the meeting but will not attend nor endorse Trump.
“Trump is an insult and embarrassment. But he represents the country we have become,” she said Wednesday on Facebook. “ZERO experience … Flaunting a ticket of unbridled bigotry, sexism, racism and everything that is wrong with America.”
The meeting was described by the campaign in a press release as, “a coalition of 100 African American Evangelical pastors and religious leaders who will endorse the GOP frontrunner after a private meeting at Trump Tower.”
Trump’s campaign on Sunday canceled its plans for a press conference, initially billed as one at which Trump would be joined by those religious leaders.
“On Monday, Mr. Trump will host an informational meet and greet with many members of the Coalition of African American Ministers. 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 spokeswoman Hope Hicks said Sunday.
Bishop Paul S. Morton tweeted Friday that he refused to meet with Trump, calling the candidate disrespectful.
“I was asked 2 meet with Mr Trump too but I refused because until he learns how to respect people you can’t represent me thru my endorsement,” the founder of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship tweeted.
The announcement has been met with criticism from some black pastors given that it came days after a Black Lives Matter activist was physically assaulted at a Trump rally.
In an op-ed in EBONY magazine published Friday, pastors, seminary professors and Christian activists critical of Trump asked the group backing the candidate to consider the impact that endorsing him could have on their congregations.
“By siding with a presidential candidate whose rhetoric pathologizes Black people, what message are you sending to the world about the Black lives in and outside of your congregations? Which Black lives do you claim to be liberating,” the leaders wrote.
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