Mel Trotter CEO apologizes for Facebook post

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Mel Trotter’s CEO has issued an apology for a Facebook post he made on his personal page following President Donald Trump’s visit to Grand Rapids.

The post, which has since been deleted, said there were “red hats and white men as far as the eye can see.” It went on to claim people said rude things to Mel Trotter staff and shouted racial slurs at people trying to come to the shelter.

On Thursday, Mel Trotter CEO Dennis Van Kampen apologized for “painting the crowd with a broad brush.”

His full statement can be read here:

“The comments I made on my personal Facebook page on March 28 were in response to events witnessed that day by our Mel Trotter Ministries staff outside our facility. As an organization dedicated to helping homeless and disadvantaged individuals and families, we were all saddened by these events. It was not my intention to make a political statement. I unfairly painted the crowd with a broad brush, and I apologize.

When the responses to my Facebook post started to involve the work of Mel Trotter Ministries, I chose to take down my post to stop that from escalating.

Our staff and leadership remain focused on demonstrating the compassion of Jesus Christ to our neighbors experiencing homelessness in our community – just as we have been doing for more than a century.”

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  • Roger Haynes

    Dennis has some real psychological problems. He hates the very people who have financially supported his organization. He indicates that he is sorry, but his apology only happens weeks after his actions, long after his real feelings have hung on social media and in the public. For this reason I and most of the people I know who have been large financial supporters in the past, will never support Mel Trotter Ministries as long as he is CEO there. If his politics were different, he’d be fired so the organization could survive. Maybe not so here. Bad actions have real consequences.

  • Common cents

    I was in that line for over 3 hours and didn’t hear anything racist from anyone except the protesters. We have supported this organization for years but no longer.

  • Augster

    I’m extremely thankful for his honesty! The phone started blowing up. We didn’t know he was a lefty. Hopefully funding collapses on his whole gig.

  • Just asking?

    How is it that an organization that’s mission is to help the homeless and downtrodden continue to grow and expand like a standard business? I guess I would think if they were doing a service to help, shouldn’t their mission be to go out of business, as at that point they have helped with the problems of homelessness, etc?

  • steve

    It’s too bad that an organization that serves all people equally are being led by a typical liberal like this guy. Say whatever you want with impunity and if enough people are offended, you make an ‘apology’, knowing that you’ll do the same thing tomorrow.

  • Bill

    My wife and I give hundreds of dollars to Mel Trotter every year. Not any more. We had no idea CEO Dennis van Kampen was a hate-filled bigot and liar. He should be fired. Immediately.

  • Bill

    This is just another lie perpetuated by a Trump hater to fuel the hate and race narritive that doesn’t exist on the right.
    Just another case of TDS

  • Atlas

    Wouldn’t you think they would stand for the strong values and vibrant economy that preclude people needing their services? I know the government wants to keep us in need, but a Christian mission should stand for the goal of self-sufficiency. When socialism prevails, there will be millions of us in need of these services but Mel Trotter will be outlawed for it’s quasi-religious affiliation. I hope the long line of white donors as far as the eye can see quit contributing an ounce of anything good to this organization. We probably need to look more closely at any organization pretending to do good before offering even an ounce of grace.

  • Kelly Fleming

    Reminds me of the pastor who had become the focus of rumors circulating in his church that he had been unfaithful to his wife. The pastor knew the story was false, and kept searching for the source. Finally, he confronted the person he suspected had been the start of the rumor. At first she denied it, then finally, broke down in tears and said, “Yes, I’m sorry. I did it. What can I do for you to forgive me?” He told her to take a feather pillow to a nearby lookout, rip the pillow open and cast the feathers to the wind, then bring him the empty pillow case. She did this, and returned to the church, asking the pastor if could forgive her. He said, “Yes, now go pick up the feathers.”

  • sniffydogs

    I was in that line and have been to many Trump rallies. I’ve never seen this happen. Some people were dropping human excrement on Trump supporters. The director is blaming it on the staffers. I have been a Mel Trotter supporter for years. Now I’m not so sure this is a good idea. I wasn’t wearing a red hat, I’m a woman.

  • DaMailman

    My son was in line for hours at the Trump Rally and heard none of what was alleged. I suspect that Dennis heard stories secondhand from staffers and guests (some admittedly mentally ill) who do not agree with Trump politically and just assumed that it was true based on his own personal biases. There are also documented instances of anti-Trump people infiltrating Trump events and acting like jerks to make Trump supporters look bad. I suspect that if he polled people, who donated to his organization, he’d find that a majority of them are Trump supporters since studies show Liberals are less generous with their own money. Dennis probably wasn’t even going to post an “apology” until the checks stared drying up.

  • Kiki

    I have known Dennis Van Kampen for over 20 years. He is an upstanding, compassionate Christian man. He lives out Matthew 25 – looking out for the least of these. Consider it pure joy Dennis , persevere – your faith may be tested, but you will be mature, complete, not lacking anything. James 1

  • DaMailman

    “When the responses to my Facebook post started to involve the work of Mel Trotter Ministries, I chose to take down my post to stop that from escalating.”
    Translation: when the checks stopped coming I had to delete my personal opinion.

  • Kiki

    I’ve known Dennis for 20+ years. He’s a kind, compassionate Christian. He lives out Matthew 25 – caring for the least of these.

  • Mark Johnson

    The disgusting actions of Dennis Van Kampen should not be white-washed. He was not stereotyping or exaggerating, he was telling an outright lie. What he said happened did not happen. If there had been a racist in that line he would have been standing just feet away from a person of color also in the line. The only slurs that I heard were from the handful of protesters. The line was predominately white because western Michigan is predominately white, but there were thousands of people of color dispersed through the whole line. I have never been to an event in my life where there was such a feeling of cheer and comradeship among the crowd. Van Kampen’s lies should cast doubt on the integrity of Mel Trotter if he is kept on. For a person in his line of work to purposely sow seeds of hatred and bigotry is intolerable. I will tell everyone I know that Mel Trotter is an institution that should not be trusted while he is there.

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