By Jeremy Diamond
FLINT, Michigan — The pastor who hosted Donald Trump at her church in Flint, Michigan, interrupted the Republican presidential nominee during his speech Wednesday to ask him to refrain from attacking his rival Hillary Clinton.
“Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not give a political speech,” Rev. Faith Green Timmons of the Bethel United Methodist Church told Trump after walking to the podium while Trump was speaking.
“OK. That’s good. Then I’m going back onto Flint, OK?” Trump said.
Moments before Timmons interrupted him, Trump had begun attacking Clinton for supporting free trade agreements, which Trump argued had caused Flint economic pain.
“Hillary failed on the economy. Just like she’s failed on foreign policy. Everything she touched didn’t work out. Nothing. Now Hillary Clinton –,” Trump said before he was cut off by the church’s pastor.
The pastor also stepped in to defend Trump as one woman began heckling Trump during his speech.
“This is my church and you will respect him,” Timmons said.
The woman heckling Trump interrupted him to raise allegations that he “discriminated against black tenants,” an apparent reference to the Justice Department’s 1973 civil rights lawsuit against Trump and his father’s landlord practices in New York City.
“No, I never — never would never would,” Trump said before the church’s pastor stepped in.
Another heckler accused Trump of having called black people “lazy.”
Trump made his first visit to Flint on Wednesday, home to a water crisis that contaminated the city’s water supply, rendering it toxic.
Trump also visited the city’s water plant, but in his remarks at the church, he focused on the decline of US manufacturing and outsourcing that he claims has hurt Flint’s economy.
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