Pastor delivers ‘fake news’ at White House Black History Month meeting
2/10/2017, 8:10 p.m. | Updated on 2/10/2017, 8:10 p.m.
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire
from the Afro American newspaper
The Rev. Darrell Scott, pastor of the New Spirit Revival Center in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, a speaker at the Republican National Convention and a member of the Trump Transition Team Executive Committee, falsely stated certain facts that curiously suggested that some of the top gang leaders he had a relationship with in Chicago were supporters of President Trump.
Rev. Scott made his statements apparently in an attempt to impress President Trump and others at a White House Black History Month meeting Feb. 1. The meeting was convened by President Trump and included some of his African-American supporters.
During the course of the meeting, Rev. Scott told President Trump: “I was recently contacted by some of the top gang thugs in Chicago for a sit-down. They reached out to me because they associated me with you. They respect you, they believe in what you’re doing and they want to have a sit-down about lowering that body count.”
Rev. Scott went on to say: “These are guys straight from the streets, no politicians. Straight street guys and they’re going to commit that if they lower that body count, we’ll come in and we’re going to do some social programs.”
President Trump, who had threatened on Twitter to “send in the feds” to Chicago, responded, “If they’re not going to solve the problem — and what you’re doing is the right thing — then, we’re going to solve the problem for them because we’re going to have to do something about Chicago.”
In the end, the president seemed to show his approval of the sit-down.
Shortly after the White House meeting, however, Rev. Scott began to retreat from his statements, which apparently caught the attention of numerous news outlets and people in Chicago and elsewhere.
Rev. Scott told WGN News, while laughing, “I misspoke ... I only had three hours sleep at the time. I meant to say former street thugs ... Former.”
But it doesn’t appear that any of Rev. Scott’s White House statements were true.
People who have worked for years to reduce violence and crime in Chicago said they have never heard of or seen Rev. Scott.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest at Saint Sabina Church, a well-known and respected combatant of the city’s crime problems, was one of the first to blast Rev. Scott for his statements.
“I guess the first thing is, where’s he been and who is he? Where’s he been while we’ve been fighting this thing for years? Where has this pastor been and why hasn’t anybody heard about him?” Rev. Pfleger told WGN News.
“It’s very surprising to me, as somebody who works with brothers in the street all the time, that they reached out to Akron, Ohio … If you care about this, how come you haven’t done anything about this until now and you’re sitting at breakfast with Donald Trump? How much money is involved?”
There were 51 murders in Chicago in January, one more than during the same month a year ago. The city had 299 shooting victims last month, eight more than in January 2016.
At a different point during the meeting, President Trump noted that “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I noticed.” The remark caused many on Twitter to ask if the president even knew who the famed abolitionist and orator was.