Black church leaders demand apology for Trump campaign ad

A group of Black church leaders is preparing to release a statement condemning an ad from the Trump campaign as complicit in inciting "white terrorism" in the U.S. because it links Black churches to violent protesters.

Religion News Service (RNS) reported that a draft statement set to be issued Monday by the pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) in Wilmington, Del., and leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church says a new ad from the Trump campaign titled "Meet Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Biden says Ginsburg successor should be picked by candidate who wins on Nov. 3 MORE's Supporters" depicts Black churchgoers as "thuggish rule breakers."

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“The ad is overtly racist and offensive on numerous levels,” the Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel AME told RNS. “It is a racist attack on the African American church, and because it was an attack on the Christian church, it should be offensive to every Christian and person of faith.”

"This ad subtly incites white terrorism against people of color and attacks the Black Church and Black people for refusing to bow down to the idol called white supremacy," the statement drafted by Beaman and other church leaders reportedly reads.

The ad includes clips of violence and looting that have occurred alongside protests, but Beaman in particular pointed to the frame at the end of the video that features Beaman and Black churchgoers behind Biden, who is kneeling, followed by a slide bearing the words "Stop Joe Biden and his rioters." His running mate, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump and Biden vie for Minnesota | Early voting begins in four states | Blue state GOP governors back Susan Collins Kamala Harris: Black Americans have been 'disproportionately harmed' by Trump Biden town hall draws 3.3 million viewers for CNN MORE (D-Calif.), who is Black, can be heard laughing with her voice ominously distorted over the ad's final warning.

When reached for comment by The Hill, a Trump campaign spokesperson pointed to a statement obtained by RNS that was made last week by a deputy press secretary for the campaign, who called criticism of the ad offensive.

"That’s absurd and it’s shameful to even make the allegation," said Samantha Zager of accusations that the ad was racist.