The pastor who hosted Donald Trump at her church in Flint, Michigan, interrupted the GOP presidential nominee during his speech to ask him to refrain from attacking Hillary Clinton and inform the billionaire businessman he was not invited to discuss politics.
According to Reuters, Trump had begun attacking his presidential rival for supporting free trade agreements, which he suggested caused Flint economic difficulty.
"Hillary failed on the economy. Just like she's failed on foreign policy. Everything she touched didn't work out. Nothing. Now Hillary Clinton --," Trump told the crowd of about 50 before he was cut off by the church's pastor, who walked to the podium to address him.
"Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we've done in Flint, not give a political speech," Rev. Faith Green Timmons of the Bethel United Methodist Church told Trump, drawing applause from the crowd.
"OK. That's good. Then I'm going back onto Flint, OK? Flint's pain is a result of so many different failures," Trump said, and charged that the city's crisis "is the result of so many different failures" and promised that under a Trump presidency, the damage would be fixed soon.
"We'll get it fixed," he said. "It will be fixed quickly and effectively."
According to CNN, the New York real estate developer was visiting the Michigan city to view its water crisis while also extending his recent outreach to African-American voters, who across the United States largely favor Clinton. According to an average of August and September Post-ABC polling data, just 5 percent of black voters support Trump, and 91 percent back Clinton,
During his appearance at Bethel, Trump was also confronted by a woman who accused him of discriminating against black renters as a landlord in the 1970s.
"No, I never would, never would," Trump replied before Timmons stepped in and told the audience, "This is my church and you will respect him."
Following the event, the pastor explained her actions: "I thought he wanted to see that we gave out food and water, and when his statement went beyond what he originally said, I asked him to stick to what he was originally going to say," she told reporters. "He's welcome to come and see what we're doing in Flint. We're doing well. We're helping those in need. And I wanted him to see the best of Flint.
"And some of the statements I've heard him say about African-Americans and Hispanics have been degrading," Timmons added.
Prior to the event, the pastor had noted in a statement her church welcomes "all people": "This public event is open to all and today Donald Trump came to observe. Trump's presence at Bethel United Methodist in no way represents an endorsement of his candidacy," she had said.
"What we pray is that it conveys a fine example of a faithful, intelligent, historically African-American congregation at work, serving and volunteering among the people of Flint as we work through this crises of national impact."