GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump has declined an invitation to speak at this year’s annual NAACP Annual Convention in Ohio next week, CNN reports.
NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks told the media outlet that Trump had declined the group’s invitation to address its members in Cincinnati at their conference, set to commence this weekend.
“Mr. Trump has declined our invitation, so we will hear from Sec. Clinton,” Brooks said. “Namely, the explanation given was that (the Republicans) are holding their convention at the same time. We are, of course, in Cincinnati, they are in Cleveland. We were hoping he would make the short trip from Cleveland to Cincinnati.”
Trump’s decision to skip the event represents a change of course from previous Republican presidential candidates. In 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney addressing the 103rd NAACP annual convention in Texas.
Brooks, who expressed disappointment after hearing Trump’s decision, said it was a missed opportunity for the real estate mogul to respond to recent problems between law enforcement and the African-American community.
“I will simply say this: the NAACP, representing millions of Americans, we represent an occasion for those running for president to speak to the nation’s most critical issues at a critical hour in this country,” Brooks said. “You can’t run for president and not talk about police misconduct and police brutality. You can’t run for president and not talk about this country’s civil rights agenda, so this is an important moment and our convention really will be an opportunity for anyone running for president to provide a window into not only their policies, but into their heart and character as a candidate.”