Polls show Donald Trump has slim support from African Americans, a threatening gap he'd like to change
A visit to Detroit this weekend is part of a series of urban stops. Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International on the west side will interview the Republican presidential candidate Saturday on his Impact Television Network. The candidate will attend a morning service at the nondenominational church on Grand River Avenue, but dropped plans to address the congregation.
"During this televised event we will address real issues facing our communities such as law and order, police and black citizens, black lives matter, racism in 2016, economic empowerment, education, and incarceration just to name a few," Jackson says in a posted statement.
► Related article today: 'Disrespectful,' 'Exploitation,' 'Disgraceful:' Trump's Detroit Host Feels Heat
Jackson, who draws backlash from members of the black community for giving Trump a platform, tells The Detroit News:
"I’m going to ask him that question: Are you a racist? I’m going to ask him questions that pertain to the heart of our community. . . . But there’s a lot of emotional anger tied to this, and we need to make sure that our concerns as a community are met.”
Update, 8:40 p.m.: At the Detroit Free Press, Kathleen Gray reports that the maverick candidate backed away from an earlier plan to address parishioners during the 11 a.m. service. She writes:
And his interview with Jackson on the church's Impact Network -- which will not be open to the public or the media -- won't air for at least a week after the event on Saturday.
Trump's first foray into an African-American church as a presidential candidate was initially billed as a speech to the congregation, laying out his policies that have an impact on minorities, followed by the interview with Jackson.
"There will be fellowship at the service," the bishop tells Gray in a videotaped interview (below), "and he can talk to people one-on-one."
Jackson said he wasn't disappointed that Trump won't be speaking directly to the voters in his congregation and that his interview was the same thing as talking with voters.
"My congregation trusts my judgement. They know that I’m not going to put anything or anyone in front of them that I feel is going to be harmful."
Bishop Jackson's statement
The 2016 Presidential Race has turned into one of the most controversial and memorable races to the White House in our lifetime. This race to become the next President of the United States of America is at a critical juncture where real clear policies, platforms and agendas need to be communicated.
On September 3, 2016 the Republican Candidate Donald J. Trump will be interviewed by myself Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, President, Impact Network, on the issues that directly affect the heart of many areas within the African American community. This interview will premier during an exclusive Impact Network special presentation called, “Voice of the People.”
Similar to media outlets around the country, Impact Network sent a formal letter inviting the Democratic and Republication candidate an opportunity to be interviewed. Mr. Trump will be allowed to outline his policies followed by a frank on-air conversation with Bishop Jackson. We hope that Candidate Hillary Clinton will accept our offer so we can give her the same opportunity. During this televised event we will address real issues facing our communities such as law and order, police and black citizens, black lives matter, racism in 2016, economic empowerment, education, and incarceration just to name a few.
This interview is NOT a rally or an endorsement for Mr. Trump. This is an opportunity as a community to get answers to questions that seriously impact our daily lives and future. Our community is diverse and not all issues relate to all black people, but our goal is to address those issues which our most pressing to parts of our community in these times. As the only African American Christian Television Network, we believe that both candidates understand the importance of reaching our viewers.
We hope this invitation to both candidates will result in an opportunity to get clarity on some of the issues that have a particular impact on our community. The 2016 Presidential election is a determining factor on the direction of our country and we want to make sure we are providing an opportunity for an informed electorate to make the best decision possible. Please pray for us as we endeavor to do our best to make heard the voice for the people.