“Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not to give a political speech,” the Rev. Faith Green Timmons told Trump as she approached the businessman.
Trump turned to the pastor and immediately changed course. “Oh, oh, oh, OK, that’s good. Then I’m going to back on Flint. OK,” he said, before addressing the community once more.
Trump spoke in front of about 50 Flint residents at Bethel United Methodist Church, which has distributed aid and water to the community during the lead crisis that started in 2014. The GOP nominee praised residents for their response to the crisis, before launching into an attack against Clinton and her support for trade agreements such as NAFTA. Earlier in the day, he toured the city’s water treatment plant.
IRS regulations bar tax-exempt churches like the one Trump spoke at from participating in electioneering. Timmons released a statement prior to Trump’s visit, clarifying that his presence at the church “in no way represents an endorsement of his candidacy.”
“What we pray is that it conveys a final example of a faithful, intelligent, historically African-American congregation at work, serving and volunteering among the people of Flint as we work through this crisis of national impact. We cannot let this story drift from national attention for any reason,” she added.
Watch the video above.