Leader of Northwest Baltimore's Empowerment Temple Church, the Rev. Jamal H. Bryant, says he declined a controversial meeting with GOP 2016 presidential frontrunner Donald Trump last month because the billionaire refused to meet with representatives of Black Lives Matter.
Bryant, who previously dismissed black clergy who accepted Trump's invitation to meet on Nov. 30 at Trump Tower in Manhattan as being worse than prostitutes, said if Trump intends to represent everyone as president then he must meet with Black Lives Matter and hear what the group has to say.
"It was in the backdrop of students in Alabama who went and protested at the rally. They were roughed up by Trump supporters. A reporter asked him [Trump] what he thought about it, he said they probably deserved it. After that, the students asked to meet with Mr. Trump and he declined," explained Bryant in an interview with The Christian Post Monday about the timing of the invitation from Trump's camp to meet.
Prior to the meeting on Nov. 21, according to CNN, 31-year-old Black Lives Matter activist Mercutio Southall said the attendees at the Trump rally in Alabama, referenced by Bryant, attacked him and two fellow protestors allegedly calling them "monkeys and the N-word." He said he was "swarmed" by attendees at the event after he and the others began chanting "Dump the Trump" and "Black Lives Matter" during the billionaire's speech.
"To really go [to a meeting with Trump] and really slap the students in the face, and meet with these ministers who are not connected to Black Lives Matter, I think was in poor taste," Bryant told CP.
"Clearly you have a constitutional right and a personal and prophetic responsibility to talk to any and everybody as Paul would be all things to all people. But given the backdrop that they're supposed to be conduits and emissaries for the Black Lives Matter movement, and none of these preachers were involved, [it] was absolutely insulting. And then when they asked him in that meeting to apologize to the students he utterly refused, [said] he didn't owe them an apology," Bryant added.
When asked what Trump could do to fix things, Bryant said: "He needs to meet with the students. I am not asking for a kidney transplant or a blood transfusion. If you want to be the president of all the United States, you can't just meet with people who you agree with. Hence, I say it would be beneficial and healthy for him to meet with the students who are agitating for change."