On Wednesday night, Donald Trump made an appearance at the Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint, MI, after taking a tour of a nearby water treatment facility.
A group of some 70 people gathered at the church to hear Trump's take on how he would approach Flint's ongoing water crisis that has left many residents without reliable access to drinking water, forcing them to expose themselves to water with dangerous amounts of lead. Rather than describing his plans about how he could breathe new life into the city, Trump's speech veered toward his thoughts on Mexico.
“It used to be that cars were made in Flint and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico and now the cars are made in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint,” Trump said. “They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands and thousands of people, not from this country…and we’ll have nothing but more unemployment in Flint.”
When he started talking about Hillary Clinton, though, Trump's tirade was cut short. Pastor Green Faith Timmons calmly swept onto stage and reminded Trump that he'd been invited to the church as a means of trying to connect with Flint's spiritual community.
"Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we've done in Flint, not give a political speech," she said.
"Oh, oh, oh, OK," Trump stammered.
“I thought he wanted to see that we gave out food and water, and when his statement went beyond what he originally said, I asked him to stick to what he was originally going to say," Timmons explained to CNN later. "He’s welcome to come and see what we’re doing in Flint. We’re doing well."
By Thursday morning, Trump had a different takeaway of the experience. By his recollection, he said to Fox & Friends, Timmons was trembling in awe of him when she first met him. "She was so nervous," he said. "She was a nervous mess."
He also posited that Timmons had probably staged the whole thing.
"She had that in mind, there’s no question about it," Trump said. "Everyone plays their games, it doesn’t bother me. I’ll tell you what made me fell good—the audience was saying, ‘Let him speak, let him speak.'"