From: Francesca Chambers
Sent: Monday, July 29, 2019 4:27 PM
Subject: In-Town Pool Report #8: pastors come out to talk, including Alveda King

Alveda King and Bill Owens, of the founder and President of the Coalition of African American Pastors, came out of the White House just after 3:30 pm. A few came over to the mics, at the urging of a couple of our colleagues.

They answered questions about the meeting with the president – and his insults on Twitter for the Squad, Cummings and Al Sharpton.

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According to Owens, about 20 people were at today’s meeting, and it’s been on the schedule since last Wednesday or so (he wasn’t entirely sure about the invite date, but it was prior to Saturday’s kerfuffle.)

King spoke for about 3 minutes. Here are the highlights:

“I have a beautiful picture of President Trump – I’ll probably tweet it today – and he was with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton. I have a picture with me … And at one time in their lives, they highly regarded the president. And, so I’m thinking about a scripture: If it had been my enemy, I could have understood, I could have known what to do, but you were my friends and my brothers.

“So these are his brothers… The president is concerned about the whole nation. About Everybody in the nation. So I want us to remember, that we’ve been designed to be brothers and sisters. One member of the human race. Not separate races. The same blood. And so I was just rejoicing to be able to pray here today. And to believe that America will come together. We will learn to be brothers and sisters ….”

ARE YOU OK WITH HIS COMMENTS ON BALTIMORE/INFESTATION:

“Well you know, America is troubled. And if we say we’re color-blind, we need to put on our glasses,” she said, touching her own glasses. “We can see. We can see a troubled America, but we can see a blessed America. The employment rates are up in every community, including the black community. The Historically Black Colleges and Universities under this president are being blessed. The babies in the womb, the sick and poor and elderly are being blessed. 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. Now that’s it.”

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She walks away and Bill Owens stays to take additional questions from press in the rain … He was very hard to hear over the rain and spoke in a low voice.

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT PT IS A RACIST?

“I find it hard to believe.”

DOES HE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO HELP SOLVE BALTIMORE PROBLEMS:

“Of course. Absolutely.”

SHOULD HE GO THERE?

“I think he should. It would be good.”

DID YOU TELL HIM THAT?

“That was not on the agenda.”

IT WAS A PHOTO OP?

“It was not a photo op. It was two hours of discussion. That’s not a photo op.”

WHAT DID YOU DISCUSS?

“We discussed the issues facing the black community. There are many.”

WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT MEETING?

He thinks last Wednesday….

WAS THIS DAMAGE CONTROL?

“I don’t think so. Because I’ve been here five different times. Four or five times…”

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RESPONSIBILITY TO RAISE RHETORIC AROUND RACE?

“Absolutely.”

Owens repeatedly mentioned the opportunity zones and prison reform as steps that POTUS has taken to help the black community – and said pastors told him today what else he could be doing.

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“This country needs healing. There’s so much division in America along racial lines.”

IS TRUMP FANNING THE FLAMES WITH HIS TWEETS ABOUT INFESTATION:

“Well, those are his words. I don’t want to second-guess what he says, because I hear a lot of things. I see also people pandering to black people, to get them on board with some of their agenda.”

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Francesca Chambers
Senior White House Correspondent

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