September 2, 2016

Donald Trump is visiting an African-American church in Detroit on Saturday, presumably so he can say he's not afraid of Black people, or something. However, in this case, it's not an ordinary visit.

For starters, he's attending a closed-to-the-public church service, where he may or may not be speaking. It's unclear. And secondly, he has agreed to a private interview with Bishop Wayne Jackson which will be aired after he leaves the area.

Third, and most important, the good Bishop pre-submitted the questions to Trump, as he admits in this interview.

"I'm the one that sat down with "the New York Times" reporter and one of the questions she asked, did we submit questions to the Trump campaign beforehand," Bishop Jackson told CNN's Carol Costello. "And yes, I didn't see anything wrong with it. I never lied about, you know, trying to be deceitful about it. but we have -- in the past, I have done things for the White House."

Hmmmm, did that involve feeding questions for an interview? Not so much.

"I did an invocation, just a prayer, about a year ago, when Joe Biden -- when Vice President Biden was in town," he continued. "They asked me to submit what I was going to pray. so I didn't see anything wrong with it."

Well, yes. It's one thing for the good Bishop to submit his own words to the White House upon request, and quite another for him to claim he's "interviewing" a presidential candidate and sending the questions in advance.

But hey, they were hard questions so it's all good, right? "I just sent the questions out. They were hard questions. They were direct questions. There are questions I feel African-Americans need to know."

Costello asked if the Trump campaign is going to help edit the interview the tapes, which he denied.

Jackson has been quite evasive about whether Trump will actually speak in the service. When he's asked directly, he always answers that "he is going to be part of a service, sitting with the congregation."

It's a thin line to walk here, because churches still do have some restraints on candidate endorsements, so I'm guessing Trump will sit in the congregation, be introduced by Bishop Jackson, sit some more, and then retreat to the private offices for an interview, which may or may not be edited when it's finally broadcast on the church's network.

It's hardly what I would call getting out and talking to the African-American community. I chalk it up as yet another "photo-op" so Trump can say he did a thing he should do, without actually doing that thing.

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