Impact Network delays controversial Trump interview

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

An African-American Christian television channel that scored an interview with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is delaying its broadcast of the interview that sparked controversy after scripted questions and answers were leaked to the media.

The Detroit-based Impact Network said last week on its social media accounts that Bishop Wayne T. Jackson’s interview with Trump would air at 9 p.m. Thursday.

But the interview air date has been rescheduled for 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14, said Terry Arnold, senior vice president of the Impact Network.

Arnold said he was unaware of the network’s “official statement” posted last Friday on Facebook and Twitter announcing a Sept. 8 air date.

“We never had a locked-in schedule,” he said Thursday.

Arnold offered no reason for the delay in broadcasting the interview Jackson conducted last Saturday at Great Faith Ministries International on Grand River Avenue before Trump attended part of a worship service at the church.

Jackson came under criticism late last week before the interview after The New York Times reported on a set of questions he submitted to the Trump campaign and answers for the candidate to give to specific questions.

The pastor later said he created new questions for Trump and that the Trump campaign would have no influence in the editing of the interview.

“Mr. Trump will not have any oversight of the editing,” Jackson said last Friday in a Facebook video. “Our people will be editing, and we will get it on television as soon as possible to make sure that you and every one of us can hear his answers.”

During Trump’s remarks to the predominately African-American congregation, the New York billionaire said he had a “fantastic” interview with Jackson.

“He is better than the people who do that professionally,” the New York businessman said. “... And I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I didn’t know. Is this going to be nice? Is this going to be wild? He’s a great gentleman and a very smart guy.”

The celebrity billionaire and former reality television star added: “I just hope you don’t lose him to Hollywood.”

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Twitter: @ChadLivengood