2016 Recap: Trump's Detroit Church Host Feels Heat: 'Disgrace,' 'Disrespectful'
December 24th, 2016, 7:13 AM
Our year-end countdown of most-viewed content continues with Number 8, originally published Aug. 30. Links to earlier Top 10 reposts are at the end.
Wayne T. Jackson, a west-side Detroit pastor, posts on Facebook five times in two days -- not counting replies to critics -- about inviting Donald Trump to attend a Sept. 3 service and then be interviewed for a Christian network TV show.
His latest update shows the guest at Great Faith Ministries is a hot-button visitor. "There’s a lot of emotions going on right now," acknowledges Jackson, who uses the title apostle. "People are upset that Donald Trump is coming to Detroit."
He defends the invitation as a chance for "engagement:"
If we don’t sit down to talk to him, we’ll never know what his policies are. It’s not an endorsement, it is an engagement — so let’s talk.
In another post, Jackson promises "a frank on-air conversation" to be televised later at an unannounced time. Trump doesn't plan to speak at the service he attends on Grand River Avenue.
Protesters outside are likely, though several community figures suggest showing displeasure by ignoring the Republican presidential candidate.
"Attention is what feeds this monster, so it would be great if we could starve him of it.," Kim Trent posts on her Facebook page. She's on the Wayne State Board of Governors and is a former aide to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
Trent slaps Jackson forcefully:
It would also send a powerful message . . . if Jackson's church members stayed home instead of allowing themselves to be used as human props for this hateful, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, phony liar. . . .
There is NO WAY I accept Jackson's explanation that he invited Trump so he can interview him. What does he think he's going to glean from talking to Trump that we don't already know? Trump is disgraceful and so are those who get used by him.
At BLAC Detroit, editor Aaron Foley also pushes back vigorously and tells why his magazine won't cover the event :
This is not “an opportunity as a community to get answers” [as Jackson posts]. This is a ratings grab, pure and simple.
It’s shock value. It’s entertainment.. . . It’s an exercise in vanity for a man who literally takes bottles of water, says a prayer over them and sells them. . . .
It’s disrespectful to the black church in Detroit. It sends the message to non-Detroiters that Black Christians are cheaply and easily bought.
On that "easily bought" point, Jackson's flurry of social media statements Tuesday include one saying:
There was no payment received by Impact Network, Great Faith Minisitries nor Bishop Wayne T. Jackson for agreeing to interview . . . Trump.
The clergyman's precise phrasing leaves open the possibility of a donation for attending the service, rather than for the interview.
Another journalist, editorial page editor Stephen Henderson of the Free Press, tells U.S. News & World Report that Trump visits a Detroit church "trying to score cheap political points. . . . He has no real interest for changing lives in places like Detroit."
The critical chorus includes MSU Professor Carl S. Taylor, a nationally known urban scholar born in Detroit who posts on Facebook:
"Trump in Detroit at a black church? Exploitation? David Duke too? Detroit is not part of Trump's America."
On Jackson's social media page, more than 80 people comment under his five posts about Saturday's political visit. Many express unease. A sampling:
► "Please sir, don't be used and don't go at it alone. The people of Detroit need not be exploited!" -- Pastor Michael Bailey, Middletown, Ohio
► "Why would informed and educated voters expect your interview with Trump will get explanations and details about his policies when every journalist, lawyer, economist, professor and military general on every national media outlet for the last year have not been able to do so ? Really?" -- Arlene Kimbrough, Southfield
► "Is this a joke." -- Ty Duncan, Livonia
► "Disgusting." -- Darren Hutchinson
► "This interview may not be an endorsement, but that is exactly how it is seen." -- Ruth Matthews
► "You're making the wrong move." -- Roderick Dotts Sr.
► "You're now stepping into the political arena to potentially get on mud your feet. . . . You're putting your reputation on the line. Donald Trump is a master of sidestepping issues and changing the subject. . . . This interview may not be a direct endorsement, but that is exactly how Donald Trump will spin the interview." -- Marcus L. Sanders
► "If not carried live, with real congregation members, then one just might suspect protective editing to make Trump look 'good' and cover up his mistakes." -- Sam Anderson
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