Trump uses flimsy excuse to avoid visiting church in black neighborhood


Trump goes to great lengths to avoid visiting places where he's unpopular.

Shortly after publicly committing to visit a majority-black church in Baltimore, the Trump White House suddenly canceled the event.

And the White House's excuse for the cancellation — chief of staff John Kelly's pending departure — looks like a very flimsy one.

The White House first announced on Friday that Trump would visit Baltimore for a Dec. 12 "roundtable with local leaders and mayors" to discuss plans for urban revitalization.

Trump was invited to visit by Rev. Donte L. Hickman, pastor of Southern Baptist Church in the Broadway East neighborhood, to discuss how Baltimore could serve as a model for government initiatives to boost urban reinvestment.

It was to be Trump's first visit as president to Baltimore, where 64 percent of the population is black — even though the city is only about 50 miles from the White House.

But the visit was abruptly canceled on Monday, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The White House claimed that scheduling issues came up after Trump announced Saturday that his chief of staff, John Kelly, will be leaving his post at the end of the year.

However, Vanity Fair reports that Trump had already fired Kelly on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was still telling the Baltimore Sun that she had been informed of Trump's visit, but that the White House hadn't given them an agenda yet.

Since Kelly hasn't left yet, it seems unlikely that the White House's schedule would be so badly thrown off as to keep Trump from traveling to a nearby city on a Wednesday.

After all, the summit on urban development is still going to take place Wednesday. It will just take place at the White House, not in Baltimore.

Hickman had told the Baltimore Sun he hoped a presidential visit would help attract outside investment, and draw national attention to Baltimore's potential to become "a leader and model to urban centers across the country."

Now Hickman says he's disappointed by Trump's decision to bail.

Hickman also said White House officials want to reschedule Trump's visit to Baltimore in the new year. But as American troops serving overseas can tell you, Trump promises to make plenty of visits that he somehow never gets around to.

The Baltimore snub underscores just how little respect Trump has for the parts of America that didn't vote for him, especially minority communities.

Trump has held plenty of rallies in Republican-friendly areas all over the country. But he tends to steer clear of places where he is less popular, and especially places where he might face protests.

In Maryland, Trump got crushed by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trump received just 10.5 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton's whopping 84.7 percent.

And perhaps Trump worried that Baltimore would protest him again — like it did when Trump attended the Army-Navy game two years ago, before he was sworn in as president.

Trump also has a long history of racism and animosity towards black Americans in general. He continually promoted the debunked "birther" conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama, the first black president, was not a U.S. citizen

Instead of visiting one of America's major cities, just a stone's throw from the White House, Trump has once again retreated to his safe space.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.