In the wake of his ongoing racist tirade against people of color that has most recently been laser-focused on Black leaders, President Donald Trump called a meeting with a group of “Inner City Pastors” on Monday. While the purpose of the meeting wasn’t announced, it appeared to be damage control after a weekend of labeling Baltimore, a predominately Black city, as “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and disparaging Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings in a tweet that many people called racist.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted out several photos showing him meeting with a group of smiling “inner city Pastors” following what he called a “productive” meeting, though whatever they discussed was not immediately disclosed. “These Pastors have put their faith to work in their own communities, revitalizing inner cities and delivering positive results while working with President @realDonaldTrump on so many important initiatives,” Pence added.
However, there was apparently one invitee who turned down Trump’s request to meet at the White House. The Rev. Donte Hickman said he was “unavailable” to meet, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Hickman’s absence could have been returning the same favor to Trump. The president snubbed the East Baltimore pastor last year and canceled a trip to visit him in Charm City. Hickman seemed to hint to the Sun on Monday that Trump should visit Baltimore to better understand the place he was tweeting about but has not officially visited as president.
“I think it’s important for the president to engage with and really see the community of which he talks about and has talked about giving support to,” Hickman told the Sun on Monday.
One of the people who attended Monday’s “Inner City Pastors” meeting with Trump was Alveda King, the Rev. Martin Luther King‘s niece, who was, like her fellow attendees, showing all her teeth. She famously insisted last year that Trump isn’t “a racist in the traditional sense,” a sentiment that underscores why she was probably invited in the first place.
But aside from the overt play to keep trying to convince people that he doesn’t “have a Racist bone” in his body, perhaps the biggest takeaway from Monday’s meeting was how Trump labeled the folks he met with. “Inner City Pastors” was a top trending term on Twitter Monday afternoon following his tweet announcing the meeting, making those three words ripe for users to mock as everything from racist to an imaginary name for a boy band. Scroll down to see the Twitter treatment for Trump’s latest denial of being the racist that he very much is.