BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Haitian church in Rockville, Maryland, held a prayer vigil Saturday after President Donald Trump allegedly made obscene comments about Haiti and African countries.
After Trump was asked at Thursday’s White House meeting if the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and Africa, the president reportedly questioned why people from “s***hole countries” are coming to America. Trump denies using the word.
According to a press release from the Havre de Grace Seventh-Day Adventist Church, members gathered to send peaceful messages to Trump.
“We’re also really here today to pray that God will touch his heart,” Rocky Twyman, founder of Pray at the Pump, said. “We’re here today, to encourage President Trump to apologize to the Haitian people and to the African people for the really racist comments that were made.”
The reported language came after lawmakers discussed restoring protections for immigrants living in Haiti and Africa than from places like Norway.
The church says events like this are necessary to combat stereotypes.
“Please hold a vigil like we are holding today. We just want to spread love. There is just so much dissension in this country right now,” Twyman said.
WJZ spoke with the church’s pastor, Dr. Rodney Charitable. He is also a design engineer in the defense industry and a Haitian immigrant who says the portrayal of his country is offensive.
“The statement that he made is not from the entire America, it is from only one person,” Charitable said.
Church members hope their message of love and hope will make it to the White House.
“We always need to send a message of love, not a message of hate,” church member Grace Charitable said.
The church plans to sign a card with peaceful messages that they will deliver to the White House.
Trump tweeted Friday that the language he used was tough, but not the language being reported.
The church says they have been working with refugees in Haiti since the island was struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 220,000 people in 2010. Trump’s alleged comments came one day before the eighth anniversary of the earthquake.