Donald Trump visited Flint, Michigan on Wednesday, where he toured the water plant and talked about the lead crisis in that city’s drinking water. But the main news was his visit to Bethel United Methodist Church, where he spoke to a small group that was clearly unimpressed with anything he had to say.
The big story that came from Trump’s remarks at the church wasn’t the response of the crowd, though. It was when the church’s pastor, Rev. Faith Green Timmons, stopped the candidate when he started to attack Hillary Clinton. Timmons reminded Trump that he had not come to the church to talk about politics.
“Oh, oh, OK, OK, OK. That’s good,” was Trump’s reply. “Then I’m going to go back onto Flint, OK.”
On Thursday morning Trump went running to the friendly confines of Fox and Friends, where he did what he always does — he attacked someone who wasn’t there to defend herself. And close on the heels of that appearance, an NPR reporter came forward to say that basically everything Trump claimed about his visit to the church was an outright lie.
Host Steve Doocy referenced a Facebook post from Timmons, since removed, which said that the church members would not allow Trump to “use” them. Rather, the post said, they would “educate him.” Doocy asked Trump, who of course was speaking to him via telephone,
“Some have suggested online that they were out to sabotage you by putting that up. When she says she was trying to educate you — the congregation — were they trying to educate you about what was going on in Flint?”
Trump responded that he thought “something was up” when Timmons introduced him.
“I noticed she was so nervous when she introduced me. When she got up to introduce me she was so nervous, she was shaking. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. Then she came up. So she had that in mind, there’s no question.”
It’s also possible that if she was indeed nervous, it was because, as pastor of a small, inner-city church, she had never met a presidential candidate before. But, as we know, this is how Trump operates — everybody’s behavior is suspect except his.
Detrow says that Timmons did not appear to be nervous when she introduced Trump. The candidate started his remarks with a joke, then launched into a criticism of free-trade deals such as NAFTA, which he blamed on Bill Clinton. As everyone has seen, when he began to attack Hillary Clinton, Timmons stepped in.
On Fox and Friends, Trump claimed the crowd of about 50 called on Timmons to “let him speak.” Not so, says Detrow:
“That isn’t true. In fact, several audience members began to heckle Trump, asking pointed questions about whether he racially discriminated against black tenants as a landlord.”
Detrow says at that point Timmons jumped in to defend Trump, telling the group that the GOP nominee was “a guest of my church, and you will respect him.”
Trump thanked the pastor for that, according to Detrow. But there was no mention of it at all when he spoke to Fox and Friends. Detrow also says Trump was heckled more as he wrapped up his remarks, but at that point reporters were quickly rounded up and removed from the room.
Timmons summed up the controversy on Facebook with this post:
You mean Trump didn’t do what his people said he would? Shocking!
It is noteworthy that this came out on the same day advertising executive Donny Deutsch ripped the media on MSNBC’s Morning Joe for largely giving Trump a pass on his lies. At least this time one reporter was willing to write the story that actually happened, and not the one Trump wants the world to believe.
You can read all of Scott Detrow’s story about what really happened at the church here.
Here are Trump’s comments on Fox and Friends, via Fox News:
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) September 15, 2016
Featured image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images