Trump predicts he can win 95 percent of the black vote
Donald Trump promised Friday night that if elected president, he will win 95 percent of the African-American vote in his reelection bid.
Renewing his effort to reach out to black voters at a rally Friday evening, Trump suggested that Democratic politicians that overwhelmingly govern in America’s inner cities have failed African-Americans. Trump told the Dimondale, Michigan, crowd that “we can never fix our problems by relying on the same politicians who created our problems in the first place. A new future requires brand-new leadership.”
“You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?” Speaking before another largely-white audience in a town whose population is 93 percent white, Trump said, “And at the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote. I promise you. Because I will produce.”
“No group in America has been more harmed by Hillary Clinton's policies than African-Americans. No group. No group,” he said. “If Hillary Clinton's goal was to inflict pain on the African-American community, she could not have done a better job. It's a disgrace. Tonight, I'm asking for the vote of every single African-American citizen in this country who wants to see a better future.”
The former reality TV star's 95 percent pledge was an ad-libbed moment in a speech that was scripted and delivered with the help of teleprompters, aides that Trump has shunned for much of his campaign in favor of a more off-the-cuff approach. It is the second speech delivered by Trump since Wednesday’s promotion of new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who is believed to have been elevated to help the GOP nominee remain focused and on-message.
As a remedy to the problems that Trump said beset the African-American community in the U.S., Trump prescribed much of his usual policy proposals: school choice, tougher immigration laws, more efficient government and trade policies that promote American job growth.
Trump has struggled thus far with black voters in the election, polling as low as 0 percent and 1 percent at times, although the margin of error could put his actual support among African-Americans higher. President Barack Obama received 96 percent of the African-American vote in his first presidential campaign and 93 percent of it in his successful 2012 reelection bid.
“The inner cities of our country have been run by the Democratic Party for more than 50 years. Their policies have produced only poverty, joblessness, failing schools and broken homes,” Trump said. “It’s time to hold Democratic politicians accountable for what they have done to these communities. At what point do we say enough? At what point do we say enough?”
Shortly after the real estate mogul concluded his speech, CNN anchor Brianna Keilar asked Trump campaign senior adviser Jack Kingston why Trump continued to reach out to the black community in rallies with mostly white audiences held in areas where few African-Americans live.
“Maybe it would have been nice if he went and had a backdrop with a burning car,” Kingston replied. "His rallies are open to the public. Last night in North Carolina we saw a lot of African-Americans. I wasn't sure about the crowd content tonight… but they’re open to the public, and I mean, there’s nothing exclusive. The reality is, what he is saying is ‘I want to talk to you.’”
Republicans have been urging Trump to reach out to black voters for weeks. In a Facebook Live question-and-answer session hosted by Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich on Wednesday, the former House speaker urged the Republican nominee to reach out to the black community even more directly by speaking in inner cities.
"Trump going into inner-city Philadelphia and offering a better future could have an amazing result. Because the truth is, no Republican has ever had the courage" to offer African Americans a compelling reason to vote for the GOP, Gingrich said.
But such speeches, Gingrich said, would come with "enormous demonstrations" because "left-wing activists cannot allow a Republican to have a genuine conversation in the black community. They understand this is a mortal threat to their power and they will do almost anything to stop him."
At Friday's rally, a day after offering a surprising expression of “regret” if any of his rhetoric had created personal pain, Trump attacked Clinton for not showing similar remorse over her own bevy of scandals and controversial statements. He slammed her record as secretary of state and offered a grim comparison between the Middle East prior to Clinton’s tenure as America’s chief diplomat and the region’s current chaotic state. She is, Trump said, “indifferent to the suffering she has caused.”
“Her tenure as secretary of state may be regarded as the most disastrous in United States history, but she is totally without remorse,” he said. “Her failed decisions as secretary of state unleashed ISIS on to the world. But has she ever apologized for the death and destruction she has caused? No.”
Trump also repeated a false claim he has made again and again on the campaign trail: that he opposed the Iraq war. "Hillary Clinton has made one bad foreign policy decision after another," he said, "beginning with her support for going to war in Iraq -- and I opposed it so strongly." In 2002, however, he was asked by radio host Howard Stern if he supported the U.S. invasion and replied, “Yeah, I guess so.” (During Thursday's rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, Trump said: "I will never lie to you.")
Trump closed his remarks with a rosy picture of what America would look like with him in the White House, promising to unite the country and heal the wounds created by racial tensions.