Black bishop on meeting Trump in Detroit: "I’m going to ask him if he’s a racist"

DETROIT -- Great Faith Ministries International is one of Detroit’s most prominent black churches. Bishop Wayne Jackson will interview Donald Trump there on Saturday to test the sincerity of his recent outreach to African-Americans.

“I’m gonna ask him if he’s a racist, so many people think that’s what you are. Put it on the record, you know,” Jackson told the Detroit Free Press.

That interview won’t be seen for at least another week, and when it is, it will be aired on the bishop’s local TV show. 

Trump will also visit Jackson’s congregation of about 3,000 members, though it’s unclear if he will address them.

According to the New York Times, the Trump campaign has left little to chance in the Q & A with the bishop. They reportedly scripted both his questions and Trump’s answers beforehand to avoid strange digressions -- like the time Trump referred to a black person in the crowd as “my African-American” at a rally in June.

Trump has been courting blacks at his mostly-white rallies​ with an unusual mix of sympathy and impatience. “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs. What the hell do you have to lose?​” he asked at a rally last month.

That kind of message from the man who led the birther movement​ against the first African-American president has rubbed some people the wrong way.

Keith Owens is the senior editor of the Michigan Chronicle, an African-American newspaper in Detroit. He said the community reaction to Trump’s visit hasn’t been very positive.

“They think it’s a joke. They know the things Trump has said, and what he has stood for. And I think he’s using Detroit as a prop,” Owens explained.

Bishop Jackson said he understands the concerns of the community, and he stressed that Saturday will be an engagement with Trump -- not an endorsement.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.