Pastor Harry Jackson, of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, has stated that there were some tangible benefits to the meeting with President Trump that he attended along with other black pastors.
Speaking to The Christian Post, Jackson praised the continuing of talks with the White House on “urban issues and criminal justice reform.” According to The Post:
Jackson, a conservative, laid out a number of key takeaways from the meeting. He said Trump stated the fact that “unemployment in the black community is at an all-time record low.” Jackson said that Trump also explained how his administration has fought hard to include “Opportunity Zones” in the new tax bill to incentivize much needed investments into distressed urban communities.
“[This is a] concept that should bring things to another level in terms of bringing resources,” Jackson said.
Jackson added that Trump told the pastors that he has received commitments to bring about 4 million jobs to urban areas.
Trump also touched on the administration’s priority to help inmates be prepared to re-enter society, an initiative being led by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.
Jackson said the the meeting between Trump and black pastors has been something he has been “praying for.” He even stated that some of the pastors invited Trump to their churches and expressed willingness to meet with him again.
“There was a willingness and request of him to have some kind of ongoing dialogue with African-American leadership,” he said. “People who say he is a racist, none of them have ever sat down with the guy. [There was a] request and openness of people who have something they could lose from a PR perspective but they said, ‘If you are really willing to talk and listen like we talked today, can we do this again? Can we do more of this and talk to you about ways that we could tweak some of the programs you are working on to make them even better?'”
Rev. Jackson went on to respond to criticism from Jamal Bryant who, in a lengthy Periscope video, called the pastors’ attendance at the meeting into question. Jackson said Bryant “doesn’t know that I have been working on this with this group for a long time, nearly a year and a half. This is not taking a picture. This is something that milestones are being talked about.”