Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump received praises Sunday at the Antioch Road to Glory International Ministries, a predominantly African-American church in NoDa.
Before the event began, a car driving by yelled “f*** Trump” at people entering, and officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department were parked nearby.
The speakers included Lara Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, who spoke to the character of the Trump family. For example, Eric Trump, her husband, started a foundation raising millions for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, said Lynne Patton, vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation.
According to most polls, Trump significantly trails Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton within the African-American community.
“It is not easy to go against the grain,” Lara Trump said to the black congregants supporting Trump.
Other speeches focused on the historic support of African-American communities by the Republican Party and how Donald Trump’s business experience can help promote businesses across the globe.
“Mr. Trump, you must stand with African-Americans and we must stand with you,” said Katrina Rodgers, the church’s executive secretary and the pastor’s daughter, pointing out that Republican President Abraham Lincoln emancipated slaves in 1863. Rodgers also said Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican – which PolitiFact says is untrue, reporting he was most likely independent.
Rodgers said Democrats made African-Americans reliant on government handouts, which led to moral decay.
Pastor Thomas Rodgers, her father, said the blame is with the black community allowing it to happen, calling his fellow African-Americans an “ignorant people.”
“We are no longer drinking the Democrat Kool-Aid,” Mark Burns, pastor of Harvest Praise and Worship Center, said at Sunday’s event. Burns recently spoke at the Republican National Convention.
The sentiment shared among the speakers was that the Republican route would help the African-American community be self-sufficient again. Burns said blacks were worse off than before President Barack Obama took office.
Rodgers said her church would like to meet with Trump to discuss an economic plan that would link black-owned businesses in the United States and across Africa in hope of bringing jobs to all black communities.
The Clinton campaign responded to claims made at the church.
“It’s (Clinton) who has worked with the Mothers of the Movement to curtail violence, who is supporting bipartisan criminal justice reform and whose economic plans will bring good-paying jobs to North Carolina,” said Dwayne Walker, pastor at Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church in Charlotte.
When asked if the church was concerned about the legality of supporting a political candidate, Pastor Thomas Rodgers said his church did not have nonprofit status and could say what it wanted.
Tyler Fleming: 704-358-5355, @tyler_fleming96