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Trump slams immigrants for taking jobs as he courts Detroit voters

Trump slams immigrants for taking jobs as he courts Detroit voters
Trump slams immigrants for taking jobs as he courts Detroit voters



Donald Trump accused immigrants of stealing jobs and government resources as he courted black voters and die-hard conservatives at separate events Saturday in battleground Michigan.

The former Republican president also made several baseless claims attacking the country's electoral system.

But Trump's fiery comments on illegal immigration, long a staple of his unapologetic message, marked a common theme in downtown Detroit as he sought to assemble a delicate political coalition in a black and with a group known for attracting white supremacists.

“The people who are crossing the border, these millions of people, are causing enormous harm to our black population and our Hispanic population,” Trump told a cheering crowd of thousands of conservative activists packed into a vast convention hall.

They are not human beings. They are animals, he said, referring to members of violent immigrant gangs.

Trump's diverse weekend schedule underscores the shifting political forces shaping this fall's presidential election as he attempts to deny President Biden a second term.

Few states could matter more in November than Michigan, which Biden held by less than 3 percentage points four years ago. And few groups matter more to Democrats than Black voters, who made up the backbone of Biden's political base in 2020. But today, less than five months before Election Day, Black voters are expressing modest signs of disappointment with the 81-year-old Democrat. .

Trump, who turned 78 on Friday, is struggling to take advantage of an apparent opening.

His crowd was much smaller, but also warmly receptive, when he visited the church 180 earlier in the day. Abandoned vehicles sat outside the modest brick building affixed with Black Americans for Trump signs. Rap music and barbecue smoke billowed from a pre-event rally hosted by the group Black Conservative Federation.

This is a very important area for us, Trump told the church crowd, which included a significant number of white people. He promised to return on a Sunday for a sermon.

He said the black community is being hurt by immigrants who are in the country illegally.

They're invading your jobs, he says.

Trump delivered a similar message later in the day during a speech to the People's Convention of Turning Point Action, a group that the Anti-Defamation League says has been linked to various extremists.

About 24 hours before the former president's speech, white supremacist Nick Fuentes entered the room surrounded by cheering supporters. Security quickly took him out.

Fuentes created political problems for Trump in 2022, when the two had a private lunch, with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, at the former president's estate in Florida.

Turning Point has become a force in GOP politics within Trump's MAGA movement, despite the ADL's warning that the group continues to attract racists.

Many people associated with the group have made bigoted statements against the black community, the LGBTQ community and other groups, the ADL wrote in a briefing note. While TPUSA (Turning Point USA) leaders say they reject white supremacist ideology, well-known white nationalists have attended their events.

Turning Point spokesperson Andrew Kolvet called the ADLs smears and lies. He said Turning Point has been preventing Fuentes from attending its events for years.

The ADL is a scourge on America, sowing poison and division. They have completely lost the ground, Kolvet said, calling the criticism a sign of honor.

Meanwhile, Democrats have offered a competing perspective.

Donald Trump is very dangerous for Michigan, dangerous for America and dangerous for black people, said the state's lieutenant governor, Garlin Gilchrist II, who is black. He called it offensive for Trump to address the Turning Point conference at the Huntington Place Convention Center in Detroit, which was the epicenter of their election-stealing effort.

Indeed, dozens of Trump loyalists chanted Stop the count! descended on the scene the day after the 2020 presidential election, as mail-in ballots were being counted. Local media filmed scenes of protesters outside and in the lobby. The police prevented them from entering the counting area.

The protests took place after Trump tweeted that they were finding votes for Biden everywhere in several states, including Michigan.

The idea that Biden benefited from widespread voter fraud has been widely refuted by voting officials in both parties, the judiciary and members of the former Trump administration. Yet Trump continues to promote such misinformation.

Speaking from the main stage at Saturday's conservative conference, Turning Point founder and CEO Charlie Kirk falsely described the convention center as the scene of a crime.

Moving the conversation forward, Trump raised the possibility of voter fraud this fall.

We must monitor the vote. We must protect the vote, Trump charged. It's so corrupt, the whole electoral process.

Such rhetoric does not appear to have hurt Trump's standing with black voters.

Among Black adults, Biden's approval rating fell from 94% when he began his term in January 2021 to 55%, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released in March.

Yet about 8 in 10 black voters have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, and about two-thirds say they have a very unfavorable opinion of him, according to an AP-NORC poll conducted in June.

Trump won 8% of the black vote in 2020, according to AP VoteCast. And in what is expected to be a close election, even a modest change could have consequences.

Omar Mitchell, a Detroit restaurateur who attended the religious gathering, said he supported Trump because money was on the rise when he was president.

The way we used to grow up was just because you're black, that means you're a Democrat, Mitchell said. It's on the doorstep these days.

Trump says he can attract more black voters with his messages on the economy and border security, and that his criminal charges make him more accessible. At church Saturday afternoon, he repeatedly vowed to bring back the auto industry while emphasizing, “Crime is more rampant here and in African-American communities.

Kimberly Taylor, who was invited on stage at the church by the Trump campaign, thanked the candidate for coming to the neighborhood, while Pastor Lorenzo Sewell said Biden attended an NAACP dinner in the city ​​but had never been to the neighborhood.

The pastor asked Trump how to keep the black dollar in the black community.

The black community, Trump said, must end crime.

Peoples and Cappelletti write for the Associated Press. AP writers Will Weissert and Linley Sanders in Washington contributed to this report.




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