Baltimore Pastor Refuses To Attend White House Meeting

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Reverend Donte Hickman, a pastor from East Baltimore who was scheduled to host President Donald Trump in his community last winter, revealed he was invited on Monday (July 29) to meet with the president at the White House.

Trump tweeted that he was looking forward to a meeting with “wonderful Inner City Pastors!” However, Hickman declined to attend because he’s “unavailable,” according to The Baltimore Sun. He also isn’t certain whether the invitation came as a response to Trump’s recent criticism of Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore native who represents a portion of the city.

Among the attendees at Trump’s Monday meeting was Alveda King, a niece of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She was asked afterward about Trump’s tweets attacking Cummings and his Baltimore districts. Instead of outright condemning the tweets, King cited the economy being good for African Americans under Trump’s presidency.

“Well, you know, America is troubled. And if we say we’re colorblind, we need to put on our glasses,” she said. “We can see. We can see a troubled America, but we can see a blessed America. … We have an opportunity to continue to be blessed, and we have a president’s whose listening. And I was glad to pray with him today.”

Donald Trump cancelled a trip to Baltimore in December but Hickman says his Baltimore trip invitation still stands. “I think it’s important for the president to engage with and really see the community of which he talks about and has talked about giving support to,” Hickman told The Sun.