The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

President Obama to deliver slain pastor’s eulogy in Charleston

President Obama, with Vice President Biden, pauses while speaking in the White House briefing room Thursday. (Susan Walsh/AP)
Placeholder while article actions load

This story has been updated.

President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden will travel to Charleston, S.C., on Friday to attend the funeral services of Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, the White House said Monday.

The president will deliver the eulogy for Pinckney, a state senator and pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he was killed.

Pinckney, 41, was leading a Bible group when a white gunman opened fire inside the historic African American church on Wednesday, killing nine.

In a statement last week, Biden decried "the senseless actions of a coward" and recalled that he last saw Pinckney at a 2014 prayer breakfast in Columbia.

"He was a good man, a man of faith, a man of service who carried forward Mother Emanuel’s legacy as a sacred place promoting freedom, equality, and justice for all," Biden said.

The president also noted that he and first lady Michelle Obama knew Pinckney.

The pastor's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at TD Arena on the College of Charleston campus.

Speaking on the South Carolina Senate floor just weeks before his death, Pinckney said that his faith required forgiveness, even of those who kill.

"The Lord teaches us to love all," he said, "and we pray that over time, justice will be done."

READ MORE: Clementa Pinckney, preacher and legislator, spoke out for justice

The pastor killed in Charleston gave a chilling speech on racism a few weeks ago