Reverend Bill Owens, leader of the Coalition of African-American Pastors and a former participant of the Civil Rights Movement, has told reporters that he doesn’t believe President Trump is racist after meeting him at the White House together with nearly two dozen inner city ministers on Monday.
“I find that hard to believe,” Owens said, responding to a reporter’s question on whether he thought the president was a racist. According to Owens, as an eighty year old black man, he has suffered from racism during his lifetime, “so I know it when I see it.”
Owens added that he believed Trump could “do more” to speak out against racism. “I don’t think you can do enough,” he said.
“I find that hard to believe” that Trump is racist, Pastor Bill Owens tells us outside WH after meeting with Trump.— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) 29 июля 2019 г.
Owens, 80, said he suffered from racism in his life, “so I know it when i see it.”
He learned of WH invitation last Wednesday, he says. 20 pastors in mtg. pic.twitter.com/vMfGi8KpqK
“We discussed the issues facing the black community. There are many,” the pastor said, adding that President Trump should visit Baltimore amid his running spat with House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings.
Over the weekend, Trump tweeted about Baltimore, Maryland being a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” and suggested that “if racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he helped to create…” Trump insisted that he himself was not racist, noting that “there is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district.”
Cummings had previously attacked Trump’s border patrol officials over the situation on the southern border in a congressional hearing, pointing to their agency’s alleged mistreatment of migrants at detention centres.
Later, in an exchange with CNN’s Don Lemon, Reverend Owens reiterated that he didn’t believe Trump was a racist, saying the president doesn’t choose who to attack based on their race.
“I find President Trump a leader of all colours. He attacks who he will. He’s his own man. I can’t dictate what he should or shouldn’t do. But he does not just attack black people. He attacks anybody, and you know it,” Owens said.
“President Trump does not pick the people he attacks because of colour. He attacks anybody he feels needed,” the reverend stressed.
Along with Cummings, Trump has gotten into repeated heated exchanges with other Democrats in recent weeks, with the claims and counterclaims over policy often degenerating into accusations of racism. On Sunday, freshman Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar voiced her support for Cummings, and accused Trump of “want[ing] to distract with his racism so he can avoid accountability for his corruption.”
Earlier, Trump told Omar and freshman New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to “go back” to their home countries “and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” with Democrats accusing the president of racism, nativism and hate speech. Trump insisted the tweets were “NOT Racist” and that he didn’t “have a Racist bone” in his body.