Catholic Archbishop 'regrets' tweets calling Trump racist focused on an individual, not issues

A Catholic Archbishop who called Trump racist in a since deleted tweet said he regrets that his comments were directed at an individual and not on the issues in the wake of recent mass shootings. 

“To my parishioners, the wider community, and all the dedicated priests of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, please know it is my ministry to serve your spiritual needs, and to express myself in ways that convey compassion, civility and build up unity,” Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio said in a statement shared with The Hill Thursday.

His aim is to comfort and unify at this time, he said. 

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“I regret that my recent Tweet remarks were not focused on the issues but on an individual.”

Garcia-Siller reportedly urged Trump to “stop hate and racism, starting with yourself,” according to CNN, in a tweet that was no longer on his page as of Wednesday afternoon. He had also said, “President stop your hatred. People in the US deserve better,” and “Stop damaging people. Please,” according to screenshots of deleted tweets shared by KENS5. 

“All individuals have God-given dignity and should be accorded respect and love as children of God, especially in our conversations and interactions,” Garcia-Siller said in his statement. “We should be aware of this in our discourse about the Office of the President of the United States, which is due our respect.”

Garcia-Siller’s tweets were made in the aftermath of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed a combined total of at least 31 people. 

While acknowledging his regret for calling out Trump individually, the archbishop doubled down on his message of needing to fight racism. 

Garcia-Siller said there is “growing fear and harassment, and at times American public discourse uses rhetoric that instigates fear against foreigners, immigrants and refugees.”

“No one has the moral right to make racist statements,” Garcia-Siller said. “These are the things I want to tweet and preach about and initiate renewed dialogue. Let us focus on this. My prayer is that this leads to healthy national conversations on these issues which affect many people in our country.”