A prominent black Republican pastor has announced he is quitting the party over his fears Donald Trump could help spark a “race war”.
Reverend O’Neal Dozier, a Florida conservative who served on the official campaign committee of President George W Bush, said he would instead become an independent in an editorial for the South Florida Times.
“I can no longer with good conscience remain a member of a political party that is headed by President Donald Trump,” he wrote. “One of the main reasons I have decided to leave the Republican Party is President Donald Trump’s refusal to unequivocally denounce the white supremacist groups.”
In August, the President sparked outrage after he failed to condemned white supremacists in his initial response to a far-right demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, instead blaming the violence “on many sides”.
Mr Dozier, a pastor at the Worldwide Christian Center Church in Pompano Beach, accused the President of supporting neo-Nazis in the belief they make up part of his voting base.
He said Mr Trump’s “actions and attitude” towards African-Americans are “causing white people and the Republican Party to become more insensitive to the plight of black people”, citing the President’s attacks on black NFL players protesting police violence as proof.
“President Trump’s refusal to unequivocally denounce white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, did much to heighten racial tension and the potential for a race war in America,” he added.
Mr Dozier also condemned Fox News’ support of the “ungodly” Mr Trump, and claimed the Republican party had “sold its soul” in its support for the 71-year-old.
Despite Mr Dozier’s calling out of perceived racism in the Republican party, he failed to extend his compassion towards the LGBT community.
He went on to claim that politically, the “only viable option left” for born-again Christians was to become an independent, because “the two major parties now support homosexuality and same-sex marriage”.
The pastor, a former professional NFL player, has regularly fought against liberal values. He has been a keynote speaker at many anti-abortion rallies and has held protests against same-sex marriage and allowing gay people to adopt, according to the Conservative Pundit.
In 2012, Mr Dozier infamously called for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to “renounce his racist Mormon religion”.
The White House has been contacted for comment.