Trump Tells Black Churchgoers in Detroit 'I'm Here to Learn' | NBC 7 San Diego
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

Trump Tells Black Churchgoers in Detroit 'I'm Here to Learn'

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally on August 31, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Donald Trump swayed to songs of prayer, read scripture, and wore a traditional prayer shawl Saturday on a visit to a predominantly black church in Detroit, as he called for a "civil rights agenda of our time" and vowed to fix the "many wrongs" facing African-Americans.

    "I am here to listen to you," Trump told the congregation at the Great Faith Ministries International. "I am here to learn."

    Trump has stepped up his appeals to minority voters in recent weeks, but the visit was the first time Trump has addressed a largely black audience since winning the Republican nomination.

    Trump was introduced by Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, who wrapped a traditional prayer shawl, around Trump and told his congregation that, "This is the first African-American church he's been in, y'all! Now it's a little different from a Presbyterian church!"

    Seated next to him in the front row was Omarosa Manigault, a former contestant on Trump's reality television series, who has helped to guide his outreach to the black community. Also accompanying him was Detroit native Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who ran against Trump in the primaries and is now advising the campaign.

    While protesters were a vocal presence outside, Trump made a pitch inside for support from an electorate strongly aligned with Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    "I want to help you build and rebuild Detroit," he said. "I fully understand that the African-American community has suffered from discrimination and there are many wrongs that should be made right."

    He also said the nation needs "a civil rights agenda of our time," with better education and good jobs.

    Trump Booed Leaving New York Times

    [NATL] Trump Booed Leaving New York Times
    President Elect Donald Trump is booed as he walks through the lobby of The New York Times Building after a 75-minute meeting with Times journalists. The lobby of the Times building is open to the public, and a large crowd had gathered by the time he departed. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016)

    Unlike his usual campaign stops where he confidently has addressed mostly white crowds that supported him and his plans for the country, Trump's visit to Detroit on Saturday was intended to be more intimate.

    Some protesters tried to push through a barrier to the parking lot but were stopped by church security and police.

    Rev. Horace Sheffield who led a march from his church blocks away said: "I walked up to the gate and said I was going to church. I was immediately confronted and was told I needed a ticket. You need a ticket to get in church? Anybody who is in this church should be appalled."

    Ahead of his trip, Toni McIlwain said she believes that as a candidate, Trump has a right to go anywhere he wants. But, she said, it takes a lot of nerve for him to visit Detroit.

    Trump Takes Meetings at His New Jersey Golf Club

    [NATL] Trump Takes Meetings at His New Jersey Golf Club
    President-elect Trump interviewed more than a dozen candidates for his administration at his New Jersey golf club over the weekend, including Mitt Romney, Rudy Guliani, Chris Christie and Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, who has been tough on immigration, and others. (Published Monday, Nov. 21, 2016)

    Many black people in the city, she said, are still stung by his stop in Michigan last month, when he went before a mostly white audience and declared, "You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed." He asked, rhetorically, what blacks had to lose by voting for him instead of Clinton.

    "People picked up on" Trump saying "you're all just crap," said McIlwain, who for years ran a community center that offered education and drug prevention programs in one of Detroit's most distressed neighborhoods.

    "He generalized the total black community. How dare you talk to us like that and talk about us like that?" she said.

    But the risky nature of the visit was underscored by what appeared to be unusually cautious planning by the Trump campaign.

    On Thursday, The New York Times published what it said was a script of pre-approved questions Trump would be asked in his interview with Jackson, along with prepared answers.

    Jackson told CNN on Friday that he "didn't see anything wrong" with clearing his questions with the campaign and hadn't offered softballs. Trump's intention was to meet and speak with local residents while he's in town "because he's been criticized," Jackson said, "for preaching to African-Americans from a backdrop of white people."

    Among the members of the clergy denouncing Trump's visit was the Rev. Lawrence Glass, who said Trump's heart was not into helping blacks.

    Glass said Trump represents "politics of fear and hate" and that "minorities of all kinds have much to lose taking a chance on someone like" Trump.

    Trump Holds Series of Meetings With Potential Cabinet Candidates

    [NATL]Trump Holds Series of Meetings With Potential Cabinet Candidates
    President-elect Donald Trump is holding a series of meetings all weekend with potential candidates at his New Jersey golf course as he continues to mull over dozens of positions in his upcoming administration. NBC's Chris Pollone reports. (Published Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016)

    After the church visit, Trump made a brief stop at Carson's childhood home in southwest Detroit. Surrounded by security and a swarm of reporters, Trump spoke briefly with the home's current owner, Felicia Reese, wishing her luck.

    "Your house is worth a lot of money." he told her, thanks to the Carson connection.

    For Trump, courting black voters is a challenge. Most polls show his support among black voters is in the low single digits. Many blacks view some of his campaign rhetoric as insulting, and racist.

    Detroit is about 80 percent black, and many are struggling. Nearly 40 percent of residents are impoverished, compared with about 15 percent of Americans overall. Detroit's median household income is just over $26,000 — not even half the median for the nation, according to the census.

    Clinton Reflects on Defeat: 'Never, Ever Give Up'

    [NATL] Clinton Reflects on Defeat: 'Never, Ever Give Up'
    Hillary Clinton is reflecting on her devastating defeat, acknowledging the difficulty of her loss for her supporters and urging them to persevere through the Donald Trump era. She is encouraging her backers to "never, ever give up."

    Making her first public appearance Wednesday evening since her emotional concession speech a week earlier, Clinton said: "It's up to each and every one of us to keep working to make America better and stronger and fairer." (Published Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016)

    The city's unemployment rate has dropped, but is still among the highest in the nation. And public school students have lagged behind their peers on statewide standardized tests.