Donald Trump made a new and explicit plea for the support of black voters on Tuesday, saying the Democratic Party had “failed and betrayed” them and accusing Hillary Clinton of “bigotry” in the pursuit of minority voters.
“We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton which panders to and talks down to communities of color and sees them only as votes — that’s all they care about — not as individual human beings worthy of a better future,” Trump said at a rally in Wisconsin.
After Republican Party leaders have urged Trump for months to rein in unpredictable tangents on the stump that have gotten him in repeated political trouble, Trump used a teleprompter at a campaign rally for the first time on Tuesday to deliver a speech that waded into the thorny topics of race and politics.
“The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community,” Trump declared.
“The Democratic Party has taken the votes of African-Americans for granted. They’ve just assumed they’ll get your support and done nothing in return for it. They’ve taken advantage of the African-American citizen,” he added. “It’s time to give the Democrats some competition for these votes.”
So far, Trump has struggled to connect with black voters, receiving as low as 0 percent and 1 percent of African-American support in some polls. (Though given the margin of error, his support could be slightly higher.)
Trump’s rally was in West Bend, Wisconsin, a town that is 95 percent white and less than an hour outside of Milwaukee, where violent police protests have rocked the city in recent days following the shooting of an armed 23-year-old black man by a black police officer.
“Milwaukee has got so many problems, so many problems,” Trump said at one point.
“Crime and violence is an attack on the poor and will never be accepted in a Trump administration,” he said at another, as he referred over and over to the plight of inner-city African-Americans.
Clinton, he said, simply represented “more poverty, more crime and basically just more of the same.”
“She doesn’t care at all about the hurting people of this country,” Trump said.
In addition to his usual points on trade, China and immigration, Trump spoke about school choice, merit pay for teachers and charter schools — all Republican education policy goals that he had spoken rarely about at previous rallies.
Trump did roll out one specific new proposal. He said he would require senior officials in a Trump administration to sign an agreement not to accept speaking fees for five years following government service. Employees would be banned from accepting fees from any corporation that employs a registered lobbyist, as well as from foreign governments.
“For every forgotten stretch of our society, I’m running to offer you a much better future, a much better job and a much higher wage,” Trump said.