sábado, 3 de setembro de 2016
Trump flashes humility in first ever black church visit
In a campaign first for the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump attends a black church service in Detroit. Trump dances at Great Faith Ministries before speaking to those in attendance. Reading from a script and adopting a milder tone than at previous campaign rallies and debates, the billionaire businessman says “the African American community is suffering from discrimination and there are many wrongs that must still be made right. They will be made right. I want to make them right.”
A sea of protesters and a heavy police presence surrounded the church, as local residents along Grand River Avenue looked on. Chants of “No Trump, go home Trump” were raised by about 75 people in a march organized by local pastors and activists.
Trump flashes humility in first ever black church visit
The Republican nominee spoke of Abraham Lincoln, calling for ‘a civil rights agenda for our time.’
By Shane Goldmacher
09/03/16 01:28 PM EDT
DETROIT — Campaigning at an African-American church for the first time during the presidential race, Donald Trump called for “a civil rights agenda for our time” and cast himself as the candidate who could best “rebuild Detroit” and struggling black communities across the nation.
In a 12-minute speech he read from the center aisle at Great Faith Ministries, the Republican nominee shaved off the rougher edges of the pitch he’s previously made to African-American voters, mostly before white audiences — “what the hell do you have to lose?” he has said in the past — and traded it in for uncharacteristic humility.
“I just wrote this the other day, knowing I'd be here,” Trump began, “and I mean it from the heart and I'd like to just read it and I think you'll understand it maybe better than I do in certain ways.”
“I am here today to listen to your message and I hope my presence here will also help your voice to reach new audiences in our country and many of these audiences desperately need your spirit and your thought,” Trump said.
Trump, who sat in the front row with surrogate Dr. Ben Carson and Theresa “Omarosa” Manigault, a former “Apprentice” contestant who is director of Trump’s African-American outreach, praised the church as “the conscience of our country, so true” and said black churches inspired the nation “toward a better moral character, a deeper concern for mankind, and spirit of charity and unity that binds us all together.”
The Detroit trip seemed stage-managed to minimize any potential missteps, with a leaked script earlier in the week of the questions-and-answers Trump was supposed to deliver in a television interview conducted before the service with Jackson. Despite that, Trump claimed at the church, “I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I didn’t know. Is this going to be nice? Is this going to be wild?”
Inside the church, the event was ticketed, ensuring all the protests remained outside. And before Trump spoke, he met privately with about 100 congregants but no press, even pool reporters, were allowed in to hear this unscripted discussion.
Despite many polls showing him with historically low support among black voters, Trump cast himself as a Republican in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln at Great Faith Ministries.
“Becoming the nominee of the party of Abraham Lincoln, a lot of people don’t realize that, Abraham Lincoln, the great Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, has been the greatest honor of my life,” Trump said. “It is on his legacy that I hope to build the future of the party but more importantly the future of the country.”
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Moments after Trump spoke, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which has sought to tie Trump to racist elements of the “alt-right” and some of his white-nationalist supporters, distributed statements from black leaders saying Trump’s outreach was too little, too late.
Church-goers in Detroit were open to listening to Trump, though most remained cool to the notion of actually voting for him. Joseph McFadden, a Democrat who said he would vote Democratic this fall, said, “We’re here to listen.”
Rows of seats remain empty in the back half of the church as Donald Trump prepares to speak at Great Faith Ministries church in Detroit, September 3, 2016.
Rows of seats remain empty in the back half of the church as Donald Trump prepares to speak at Great Faith Ministries church in Detroit, September 3, 2016. | Shane Goldmacher
In his speech, Trump called for a “civil rights agenda” and included “school choice” and economic opportunity at its center.
“One that ensures the rights to a great education, so important, and the right to live in safety and in peace and to have a really, really great job, a good paying job and one that you love to go to every morning and that can happen.”
“Nothing is more sad,” Trump added later, “than when we sideline young black men with unfulfilled potential.”
Trump’s subdued rhetoric was a jarring contrast to his typically boisterous rallies.
Chuck Westbrook, a lifelong Detroit resident who attended the service, said Trump's tone here was unfamiliar, “like a weak little whisper from Donald Trump.”
Westbrook said Trump would struggle to cut into Clinton’s overwhelming support among African-Americans. “Her track record is so long with black people,” he said, mentioning her work for children in the 1970s. “Donald Trump hasn’t done anything for black people in 30 years.”
Trump wrapped up his church appearance with a reading from the Bible and seemed a bit surprised that everyone cheered when he named the passage he would read. “Most groups I speak to, don’t know that,” he said. “But we know it.”
Keith Owens, a senior editor at the Michigan Chronicle, the oldest black newspaper in Michigan, was skeptical of both Trump’s intentions and the political impact of his visit. “Just because he’s friends with Mike Tyson and has Omarosa doing outreach doesn’t make him appealing to black people,” Owens said.
Owens said Trump was right in diagnosing many of the ailments in black America — “too much violence, too much a lot of things,” Owens said, including poverty and illiteracy — but that Trump was short on solutions.
“He operates on fear and negativity,” Owens said. “All he has talked about is what is wrong.”
Trump's first visit to a black church was heavily hyped, but did not draw a full crowd. There were rows and rows of empty seats in the back half of the church, even as the Trump campaign did not provide an opportunity for some local reporters to attend.
In the conclusion of his speech, Trump said, “It is my prayer that America of tomorrow, and I mean that, the America of tomorrow will be one of unity, togetherness and peace. And perhaps we can add the word prosperity.”
After his speech, Jackson, who had interviewed Trump for a broadcast to be televised later in the week before the service, draped Trump in a prayer shawl he gave Trump as a gift.
Trump left with his security detail after receiving the gift and before the service was over. He went on to tour Carson’s childhood Detroit home.
“We’re bound together and I see that today,” Trump said. “This has been an amazing day for me.”