New York Post

Fed-up pastor set to skip Trump sit-down

- By MARISA SCHULTZ Post Correspond­ent

WASHINGTON — A highprofil­e black Brooklyn minister who signed up to join dozens of colleagues in a meeting with Donald Trump said on Friday that he’s considerin­g skipping the event over recent comments by the Republican presidenti­al candidate.

“I’m like a few seconds from bowing out of it,” said Bishop Hezekiah Walker, founder of the East New Yorkbased Love Fellowship Tabernacle church and leader of a Grammywinn­ing gospel choir.

“There’s always a side of me that wishes and prays for hope, and it just seems like the more I’m trying to say, ‘Give this guy a chance’ . . . the worse things get. He’s constantly doing something.”

Trump’s campaign reached out to 100 evangelica­l leaders more than a month ago, said Walker, known as the “Pastor of HipHop” for counseling such music stars as Sean “Diddy” Combs and Lil’ Kim.

Walker said he agreed to a meeting to discuss issues, not endorse.

But Trump announced it as a meeting with religious leaders “who will endorse” him, and Walker said he has been taking heat for it, especially after a Black Lives Matter demonstrat­or was tossed from a Trump event.

“It put us in such a bad position,” Walker said.

“My prayer is, seriously, he will apologize to us as clergy and as men of the cloth who promote peace and unity,” Walker added.

“And if not, then I would have to say he is not eligible to be a candidate for president of United States of America.”

Darrell Scott, a pastor who organized the meeting, said he understand­s ministers’ hesitation to back Trump but believes a number will endorse him once they hear directly from the candidate.

“I’ve known Mr. Trump for quite some time, and I don’t perceive him as a racist,” said Scott, founder of the New Spirit Revival Center in Ohio.

Scott said that he advised Trump during a meeting to tone down his rhetoric and that the realestate mogul agreed.

“When we are trying to improve upon our nature, sometimes our old nature slips out,” Scott said.

The Trump campaign referred questions about the event to Scott.

Other ministers invited were Bishop Orrin Pullings Sr. of the United Nations Church Internatio­nal in Queens; Bishop Clarence McClendon of Los Angeles’ Full Harvest Internatio­nal Church; and the Rev. Kerney Thomas, a BET televangel­ist.

Thomas, who backed Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, said he’s open to backing Trump this time.

“He has a brilliant mind for business and for the economy,” he said, “and when you have a budget in deficit as much as we have, we need somebody who knows how to handle money.”

The more I’m trying to say, “Give this guy a chance” . . . the worse things get.

—Bishop Hezekiah Walker( right ),

on Donald Trump

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