Trump’s Michigan trip will include stops at a black church and a rally of far-right activists

DETROIT (AP) — Donald Trump will use back-to-back stops Saturday to court black voters and a conservative group accused of attracting white supremacists as the Republican presidential nominee works to bring together a coalition of historically divergent interests in battleground Michigan.

Trump is expected to hold an afternoon panel discussion at an African-American church in downtown Detroit. Later, he would appear at the “People’s Convention” of Turning Point Action, a group that says the Anti-Defamation League has been linked to various extremists.

About 24 hours before Trump was scheduled to speak at the conference, notorious white supremacist Nick Fuentes entered the Turning Point convention hall, surrounded by a group of cheering supporters. He was quickly evacuated by the security services.

Fuentes created political problems for Trump after he attended a private lunch with the former president and the Rapper formerly known as Kanye West at Trump’s Florida estate in 2022.

Trump’s plans for the weekend underscore the shifting political forces shaping this fall’s presidential election as he attempts to deny Democratic President Joe Biden a second term.

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

What you need to know about the 2024 elections

Michael Whatley, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Michigan Republicans at a dinner Friday that the state couldn’t be more important.

“Everyone knows that if we don’t win Michigan, we won’t have a Republican in the White House,” Whatley said. “Let me be more direct: If we don’t win Michigan, we won’t have Donald Trump in the White House.”

“We will determine the fate of the world in these November elections,” he added.

Asset He says he can attract more black voters Because of its economic and security message at the borders, and that his felony indictments make it more accessible.

Democrats offer a competing perspective.

“Donald Trump is so dangerous to Michigan, dangerous to America and dangerous to black people,” the Michigan lieutenant said. Governor. Garlin Gilchrist II, who is African American, said Friday.

He said it was “offensive” for Trump to address the Turning Point conference, which was being held at the same convention center that was “the epicenter of their election effort.”

Indeed, dozens of angry Trump loyalists chanted “Stop the count!” ” descended on the TCF Center, now named Huntington Place, 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 came after Trump said “they’re finding votes for Biden everywhere” in several states, including Michigan.

The misconception 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, which echoed throughout the conservative convention this weekend.

Speaking from the main stage, Turning Point founder and CEO Charlie Kirk falsely described the conference venue as “the scene of a crime.”

Such extreme rhetoric, however, does not appear to have hurt Trump’s standing with black voters.

Among Black adults, Biden’s approval fell from 94% when he began his term in January 2021 to just 55%, according to one report. Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey published in March.

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 one poll. AP-NORC survey conducted in June. About 2 in 10 black voters have a very or somewhat favorable view of Trump.

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

Maurice Morrison, a 67-year-old Detroit resident, plans to attend Trump’s appearance at the church. Morrison acknowledged that Trump, who he has voted for twice before and plans to do so again, is deeply unpopular in his community and even at home.

“Once he decided to run for president as a Republican, that automatically made him racist. That’s his middle name now — ‘Trump is racist’ — to everyone I talk to, everyone I know, my family,” said Morrison, who is black. “The man cares.”

Meanwhile, thousands of mostly young and white conservative activists eagerly awaited Trump’s opening speech Saturday night.

Turning Point has become a force in GOP politics in the Trump era, particularly within its “Make America Great Again” movement, despite the ADL’s warning that the group “continues to attract racists “.

“Many people associated with the group have made bigoted statements toward the Black community, the LGBTQ community, and other groups,” the ADL, an international anti-hate group, wrote in a background note . “While TPUSA (Turning Point USA) leaders say they reject the ideology of white supremacy, well-known white nationalists have attended their events.”

A Turning Point spokesperson did not respond to questions about the ADL’s characterization.

Turning Point, long popular among Trump’s MAGA fringe, is now a central player in mainstream Republican politics. The group’s weekend speaking schedule included a long list of established Republican politicians, including U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, as well as the American representative. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who is willing to report to prison by July 1 to begin serving a four-month sentence for defying a subpoena from the U.S. House of Representatives.

In his remarks Friday night, Vivek Ramaswamy, who has emerged as a fierce ally of Trump since unsuccessfully challenging the GOP presidential nomination, called on conservatives to reject what he called Democrats’ support for diversity.

“I’m tired of celebrating our diversity,” Ramaswamy accused. “It doesn’t mean anything if there isn’t something greater that unites us.”


Associated Press writer Linley Sanders in Washington contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment