Donald Trump Courts Black Pastors, Claiming ‘Great Love’ in Meeting.

Darrell Scott, left, a minister, with Bruce LeVell, publicly endorsed Donald J. Trump after a meeting with the candidate Monday.

Credit

Richard Perry/The New York Times  Donald J. Trump met privately on Monday with black pastors and religious figures at Trump Tower in Manhattan, trying to confront skepticism about his candidacy and project sensitivity about minority concerns.

In an interview after the meeting, Mr. Trump declared that “there was great love in the room.”

He said the ministers discussed a range of issues with him, like the high unemployment rate among black youth and a spate of police shootings of African-Americans, especially the death of a Chicago teenager who was shot 16 times by an officer — an incident caught on tape.

“We talked about this last horrible event that took place,” Mr. Trump said.

Above all, he said, the religious leaders expressed a desire for firm and effective leadership.

“What they really want more than anything else is results. They want results in the form of jobs,” Mr. Trump said.

Darrell C. Scott, who attended the meeting, said afterward, “We made history today because we had meaningful dialogue with Donald Trump, and we voiced concerns that are sensitive to the African-American community.”

The meeting came after a days-long dust-up over the purpose of the meeting that illuminated widespread skepticism among black leaders about Mr. Trump’s candidacy and his motivations in getting together with him.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump’s campaign announced that he would receive the endorsement of 100 black pastors at a news conference after the meeting. The announcement followed a torrent of criticism of Mr. Trump for suggesting that a Black Lives Matter protester who had been kicked and punched several days before by attendees at a Trump rally in Alabama “deserved” it.

By Friday, some of those who were listed as scheduled to attend the endorsement news conference said that they had not made up their minds about whether to support Mr. Trump. And on the Ebony Magazine website, some pastors who were not part of the meeting wrote an open letter criticizing Mr. Trump’s language on the campaign trail.

The meeting at Trump Tower still took place, but the campaign decided that there would no longer be an official “endorsement” news conference, his campaign said on Sunday.

Darrell Scott, the Ohio pastor who put together the event, insisted that was not the case; the original meeting was supposed to include about 40 people and grew because of interest, he said. He assumed blame for what he called a “miscommunication on my part, which led some folks to believe there would be a unilateral endorsement.”

Mr. Scott, who has been friends for years with Michael Cohen, an adviser to Mr. Trump who works for his company, rejected the idea that the meeting was simply for show or that he had been asked to “go get some black people for a publicity stunt.”

And he expressed dismay at the negative reactions: “They said we’re Uncle Toms, sellouts, every derogatory black term you can think of, they’re calling us that. Members of our own community.”

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