Donald Trump is expected to receive endorsement for his presidential bid by 100 African-American pastors and faith-based leaders during an event slated for Monday afternoon at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City.
In a statement released on Saturday by Trump's campaign, the Republican candidate said he was hosting "an information meet and greet" with a group of black pastors. The meeting was not billed as a press event, but a number of attendees are predicted to endorse him. This comes as Trump has been facing criticism for supposedly stoking racial tension and seen his support among evangelical Christians start to waver in polls.
However, some of the prominent African-American evangelicals scheduled to meet Trump on Monday have been making it clear that they have made no commitments to endorse the real estate magnate. For instance, Corletta J. Vaughn of The Holy Ghost Cathedral based in Detroit said in a Facebook post, "I was invited to attend a gathering of clergy to listen to Mr. Trump on Monday, November 30."
"I will not be in New York with Mr. Trump, nor am I a part of the Coalition of Black Pastors being led by Pastor Darrell Scott of Cleveland Ohio," Vaughn's post went on.
Darrell Scott is a pastor from the New Spirit Revival Center in Ohio and is one of the leaders attending Monday's event. He was among the 50 pastors who met with Trump back in September where police brutality, race relations, and same-sex marriage were discussed.
"When I heard he was running again, I couldn't wait to jump on board. Legislatively, Mr. Trump, I don't know what type of legislator he is or he will be. I don't know what kind of judiciator [sic] he is or would be. But I do know one thing - he is a hell of a chief executive," Scott told CBS News.
In other news regarding the Republican front-runner, the New York Times has asked Trump for an apology for his recent statements regarding Times reporter Serge Kovaleski. "We continue to find this behavior outrageous," a Times spokesperson told CNN on Sunday.
During a campaign rally last Tuesday, Trump impersonated the reporter who supposedly retracted a story he penned back in 2001 that mentioned allegations of American Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the World Trade Center attacks. The businessman's hand gestures had appeared to many, including Kovaleski, as an apparent mockery to the reporter's disability that limits his hand movements.
However, Trump has not given an apology and maintained, based on multiple posts on his official Twitter account, that the New York Times and the reporter are using "using his disability to grandstand." He also escalated his verbal war with the publication during a Saturday-afternoon campaign rally in Sarasota Florida. "I think the New York Times, frankly, should give me an apology," he said as he addressed the cheering crowd. "Who else is going to take on the New York Times? I don't care," he added.
Meanwhile, in a new statement released on Sunday, the Times mentioned; "While Mr. Trump says he does not remember Mr. Kovaleski and does not know he had a disability that restricts control over his hands, the two spent time together in the 1980s and 1990s when Mr. Kovaleski worked for the Daily News."
Based on the latest Reuters tracking poll, Donald Trump is in the first place and voted by 38% of the national Republican primary electorate. Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson comes second (both has 11.4% of the votes) while Florida Senator Marco Rubio occupies the third spot with 8.5%.