On Wednesday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump wound his campaign through one of the nation's particularly troubled cities. He gave a speech at a church in Flint, Michigan, where he spoke about the city's ongoing water crisis. While there, the church's pastor stopped Trump from talking politics and succeeded in changing the direction of the candidate's speech.
Trump spoke to a crowd of about 50 people at the Bethel United Methodist Church (UMC) in Flint. He was there to speak about the issues with Flint's water supply, which has reportedly been contaminated with harmful substances like lead for more than two years. In true political candidate fashion, though, Trump took the opportunity to criticize his opponent during the speech — that is, until the church's pastor stopped him.
Video from the event shows Trump speaking negatively about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during his address. "Hillary failed on the economy, just like she failed on foreign policy," Trump said. As he continued, though, Rev. Faith Green Timmons of Bethel UMC walked onto the stage and stopped him. "Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we've done in Flint, not to give a political speech," she said. The encounter was awkward, but ultimately, Trump obliged.
As the reverend walked off stage and Trump turned the page — literally — in his script, members of the audience began to applaud. They interrupted his speech with comments, and he responded in kind. He seemed to have gotten the message.
Two things stand out in the video from Trump's appearance at Bethel UMC. First of all, Trump had clearly been reading his speech from a piece of paper in front of him, before and after the reverend's interruption. He spoke softly, and though he was attacking Clinton, he didn't display the combative, off-the-cuff temperament that has become expected of him.
Secondly, Trump actually listened to the reverend who approached him onstage. When she stopped him, he didn't push back. He didn't try to make one last point. He simply acknowledged her concern and moved on to his discussion of Flint. For an awkward situation, Trump handled the interruption with a fair amount of grace. (Granted, that was after he turned a Flint-focused speech at a church into an attack on Clinton.)
That's not to say Trump has changed his attitude toward the campaign against Clinton. He likely won't respond with as much decorum if/when he's interrupted by Clinton herself on the impending debate stage. The dueling nominees will face off in their first presidential debate in less than two weeks.
Image: Ben King/YouTube