Donald J. Trump, who has gone more than a year without holding a single event in a black community, plans to head to a predominantly black church in Detroit on Saturday and speak with the president of an African-American owned and operated national Christian television network.
The Trump campaign said the candidate will appear at Great Faith Ministries, where he will be interviewed by Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, president and chief executive of the Impact Network. The visit comes as several polls show Hillary Clinton winning an overwhelming majority of support from black voters across the country.
Faced with those stark poll numbers, Mr. Trump has recently begun asking black and Hispanic voters for their support but has made his appeal before mostly white crowds. But on Saturday, he will speak more specifically about his plans to help blacks, his campaign said.
”Mr. Trump will answer questions that are relevant to the African-American community,” Pastor Mark Burns, a surrogate for Mr. Trump, said in a statement. “He will then give an address to outline policies that will impact minorities and the disenfranchised in our country. Citizens around the country will see, as I’ve have seen, the heart and compassion Mr. Trump has for all Americans, which includes minority communities whose votes have been taken for granted for far too long.”
Mr. Burns said Mr. Trump will talk about crime and safety, unemployment issues, educational opportunities and the candidate’s plans to help black colleges and universities.
Mr. Trump has declined to speak before several minority organizations, including the N.A.A.C.P., the National Urban League, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Mr. Trump’s earlier statements about black voters have offended some of the very people he is trying to reach. In speech after speech this month, Mr. Trump has described black and Hispanic communities as riddled with poverty and violence and has frequently said minorities live in unsafe inner cities.
He has also said that black voters should back him because they have been taken for granted by Democrats and have been failed by more liberal policies and leaders.
“What the hell do you have to lose?” he has asked over the past few weeks in a question aimed at blacks.
Over the weekend, his pitch to blacks ignited a backlash after Mr. Trump took to Twitter to seize on the news that a cousin of Dwyane Wade, the N.B.A. star, had been fatally shot in Chicago, using the killing to court African-American voters.
“Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago,” Mr. Trump wrote, putting a typo in the spelling of Mr. Wade’s given name (Dwyane), which was later corrected. “Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”
Yamiche Alcindor via NYTimes.com | Photo: sfgate.com