Trump Plans to Bring Outreach to Black Audience in Detroit

  • Republican candidate seeks to narrow deficit with minorities
  • Trump will address crowd at predominantly black church

Trump Targets Wide-Ranging Voters in Campaign Stops

Donald Trump is planning to visit Detroit next weekend to make his first appearance before a predominantly African-American audience as his campaign makes a bid for support from black voters.

Trump will visit the Great Faith Ministries on Saturday in Detroit, a predominantly black church located in the heart of the city, said Pastor Mark Burns, a Trump supporter who arranged a meeting between the Republican presidential nominee and the church’s leader, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson.

Trump will "give an address to outline policies that will impact minorities and the disenfranchised in our country," Burns, who is black, said in a statement. "I see, as I have seen, the heart and compassion Mr. Trump has for all Americans, which includes minority communities whose votes have been for granted for far too long."

The Republican presidential candidate will speak about education, unemployment and safety, Burns said in a campaign statement Sunday night.

Burns has emerged as a top surrogate for Trump within the black community, frequently appearing on cable networks and introducing Trump at his rallies. In recent weeks, Trump has made a pitch to African-American voters in his speeches, though he has done so in front of mostly white audiences. He has also held at least three roundtables with leaders from minority communities in recent weeks in Trump Tower and on the campaign trail.

Minority Voters

Trump has been trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton in polls, largely on the strength of her support among black and Hispanic voters. In a speech last Thursday she accused him of stoking racial resentment, and in response Trump labeled her a bigot. But Trump has a long way to go to reach minority voters. In a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, 77 percent of non-white voters backed Clinton. The same poll found that 59 percent of all likely voters said they agreed with the statement that “the way Donald Trump talks appeals to bigotry.”

"The black church is a very powerful institution," Jackson said in an interview. "Mr. Trump wanted to speak to the Christian African-American community as a whole. And he reached out to us. We thought it was a very good gesture of him to try to come into our community and explain to us his policies."

Jackson is the founder of the Impact Network, which says it’s the U.S.’s "only African-American founded and operated Christian broadcast television" network.

Trump’s Plan

Jackson, who identified himself as a Democrat and said he is undecided on how he’ll vote in November, said that he believes it is "important that Mr. Trump be able to speak to our community and be able to lay out his plan for our community."

Jackson said that he will be presenting questions to Trump that are "relevant to our community, especially when it comes to economic opportunity, to jobs, and also when you look at many of the African Americans who have shot by police."

"The bottom line is what will his administration do to make sure we don’t have a divided country?" Jackson said.

"I believe it’s important, again, that Mr. Trump be able to speak to our community and be able to lay out his plan for our community," Jackson said. "There are many adversities and setbacks in our communities when it comes to crime, education and jobs. We don’t have any more time to waste."

Trump has been direct in his approach on the campaign trail, though he’s made his appeals in front of predominantly white crowds in suburban areas. "You’re living in poverty. You’re schools are no good. You have no jobs," Trump said earlier this month at a speech in Dimondale, Michigan. "What the hell do you have to lose?"

At a meeting last week in Trump Tower in New York, Trump criticized financial regulations for having a negative impact on the African American community. “Banks have been -- whether it’s through certain laws, Dodd-Frank, if you look at some of these laws it’s impossible for banks to loan money to anybody,” Trump said at the meeting. “But the African-American community has been treated absolutely terribly by the banks.”

Jackson said that he has made a "formal request" for an appearance by Clinton to her campaign but "we haven’t received a response."

Jackson praised Trump for visiting Detroit, and noted that the last two Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and John McCain rarely made forays into mostly black urban areas. "I applaud him for coming to the inner city and sitting down and feeling the heartbeat of the people."

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