WASHINGTON, D.C. — Cleveland Heights pastor Darrell Scott is coming under fire for comments he made during a meeting with President Donald Trump this week.
“I was recently contacted by some of the top gang thugs in Chicago for a sit down,” Rev. Scott, pastor of New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, told Trump during a White House Black History Month program on Wednesday.
“They reached out to me because they associated me with you. They respect you, they believe in what you’re doing and they want to have a sit down about lowering that body count,” he told Trump.
“I misspoke,” he told WGN. “I only had three hours of sleep at the time. I meant to say former street thugs. Former.”
WFLD reporter Mike Flannery also spoke with Scott by phone.
“So, there are no gang leaders offering to reduce the body count in exchange for federal funds?” Flannery asked Scott.
“No! I mean, c’mon now! (Laughs) No!” Scott responded. He admitted he only spoke with one former gang member and no gang leaders.
Scott told Trump that the gang leaders agreed to lower the body count in exchange for federal money for social programs.
“If they’re not going to solve the problems, what you’re doing is the right thing, then we’re going to solve the problem for them,” Trump said. “Because we’re going to have to do something about Chicago. What’s happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country.
Scott said he and other African American leaders will soon travel to Chicago to offer assistance.
In an interview with WGN, Chicago pastor Michael Pfleger blasted Scott.
“I guess the first thing is where’s he been and who is he?” Father Pfleger said. “Where’s he been while we’ve been fighting this thing for years? Where has this pastor been and why hasn’t anybody heard about him?”
Pfleger told WGN it’s clear that Scott doesn’t understand Chicago’s gun violence problem.
Scott has been a Trump supporter since early in the campaign. He spoke in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland back in July.
According to WGN, 51 people were shot in Chicago in January of this year.
CNN reported that 762 people were murdered in Chicago in 2016.