Maryland pastor denounces Trump's remarks with Pence sitting front row

Dr. Maurice Watson said the president's remarks were "vulgar," as Pence looked on from the first pew

Published January 16, 2018 2:19PM (EST)

Mike Pence (AP/Mandel Ngan)
Mike Pence (AP/Mandel Ngan)

A Maryland pastor denounced the recent racist remarks reportedly made by President Donald Trump, during a service on Sunday attended by Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, second lady Karen Pence, both of whom sat in the front pew.

Dr. Maurice Watson, pastor of the Metropolitan Baptist Church, said the president's comments were "hurtful," "dehumanizing" and "vulgar."

"It is alleged that a hurtful, dehumanizing, visceral, guttural, ugly adjective that I cannot repeat in church, was allegedly used to characterize some of the nations of Africa," Watson said, according to ABC News. "And a statement was made that we ought to welcome people from Norway more than we should welcome people from Haiti. I stand here today as your pastor to vehemently denounce and reject such characterizations. Whoever said, it is wrong, and they oughta be held accountable."

He added, "You are owed an apology, but you probably won't get one."

Pence was reported as being visibly red-faced throughout the sermon, but his office denied such descriptions, ABC reported. Watson later told CNN that he did not make his comments because of Pence's presence at the service.

"It didn't have anything to do with the vice president, it had to do with the fact that I'm a pastor," Watson said, ABC reported. "As a pastor, I have to speak up for my people. And the vice president just happened to have been there."

While discussing immigration reform with a bipartisan group of lawmakers last week, the president was reported to have said, "Why are we having all these people from s**thole countries come here?" when speaking of immigrants coming to the U.S. from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.

Trump then allegedly suggested he would prefer immigrants come from countries such as Norway. The remarks have been corroborated by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers and have been widely condemned.

On Tuesday, when a reporter asked Trump if he was racist, he replied, "No, no, I’m not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you."

By Charlie May

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