Report: Man accused of burning black church belonged to congregation
© Ryan Moore/WDAM

A Mississippi man has been charged in the November burning of an African-American church that was also vandalized with the words "Vote Trump," The Associated Press reports.

The Nov. 1 arson reduced much of Greenville's Hopewell Missionary Baptist to rubble. The church, built in 1905, is expected to be razed.

Andrew McClinton, 45, who is charged with first-degree arson of a place of worship, is a member of the church congregation, according to the church's bishop.

Despite the political graffiti that was found on the burned church, a state official was hesitant to conclude that the act was politically motivated.


"We do not believe it was politically motivated. There may have been some efforts to make it appear politically motivated," Mike Chaney, a Mississippi fire marshal, told the AP.

During his presidential campaign, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote One quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors MORE condemned the arson, stating that such a crime "has no place in our society."
"We are deeply saddened for the members of the Hopewell M.B. Church community and condemn in the strongest terms this terrible act that has no place in our society," the Trump campaign said in a statement a day after the arson.

"We are grateful that no one was hurt and we urge witnesses with any information to come forward and help bring justice to those who are responsible," the campaign added.