A Chicago bishop attending an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House on Wednesday was wearing a hoodie in apparent solidarity with Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida.
A press pool of the event did not name the bishop, who was one of about 150 clergymen who attended the prayer event in the White House’s East Room. But multiple sources have since identified him as John R. Bryant, a bishop with the African Methodist Episcopal church in Chicago.
According to April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, Mr. Bryant told her that Mr. Obama didn’t comment on his attire even as he was shaking his hand.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been leading protests demanding Mr. Zimmerman’s arrest in the racially charged case, was also on hand.
President Obama did not explicitly acknowledge the hoodie, focusing his remarks on the upcoming Easter egg roll at the White House and the significance of the holiday to Christians.
“It was only because Jesus conquered his own anguish, conquered his fear, that we are able to celebrate the Resurrection,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Zimmerman, who is half-Hispanic, says he shot Trayvon in self-defense, and he was released after being taken into custody on the night of the killing. The Justice Department as well as Florida authorities are investigating the killing.
Mr. Carney repeatedly said he did not have a “specific comment” for her, noting that the Justice Department is looking into the case and referring to Mr. Obama’s previous remarks on the case and the “tragic loss of life” involved.
Mr. Obama waded into the controversy surrounding Trayvon’s killing last week, observing that if he had a son, he would look like the black teenager. He also said the country needed to do some “soul-searching” to figure out how such an act could occur in America.