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Donald Trump courts African-American voters in Detroit church

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tried to woo African-American voters in a visit today to a Detroit church.

Trump came under intense criticism earlier in the campaign after he said African-Americans have nothing to lose by supporting him. There was no evidence of the fiery and often-intemperate candidate in his remarks to the Greater Faith Ministries International congregation. 

Trump said he was mostly there to listen, and that he wants to use his business experience to help restore cities like Detroit.

“I want to make America prosperous for everyone,” Trump told his Detroit audience, “I want to make this city the economic envy of the world. We can do that. We can do that again.”

After the service, Trump toured a Detroit neighborhood with former rival Doctor Ben Carson.   He also told The Detroit News he will return to Michigan soon to visit Flint.

Protesters gathered outside the Detroit church visited Donald Trump.

People chanted and marched outside while the services and speeches took place inside. Many booed the Trump motorcade as it swept past them following the service.

Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield says she doesn’t believe Trump is sincere in his attempts to woo African-American voters.

“I believe that his approach has been very disingenuous, to reach out to the African-American community at the end of this election, and paint us with a very broad   brush,” says Sheffield.

Kathleen Colin noted that Detroit’s Mexican Town is not far from the church where Trump spoke.  Colin says she’s offended by Trump’s talk of building a wall between the US and Mexico.

“We’re not about that in Detroit,” says Colin, “We’re about building bridges with each other. So, I’m telling you, that whole notion instantly, you’re going to be divisive, you’re going to be divisive and that you’re going to build walls and you’re going to create us from being one as a country. No. I’m not with that.”

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign was also on hand. Volunteers used the opportunity to register protesters to vote in the November election. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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