Washington: Donald Trump made a passionate pitch to the African-American voters, who he said were living in poverty in neighbourhoods that are more dangerous than war zones, but drew strong criticism from the rival Clinton Campaign for insulting and stereotyping the community.
During a rally in Ohio, the Republican presidential candidate repeatedly posed the question to African Americans, “What do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs.”
“You can go to war zones in countries that we’re fighting and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities…I ask you this. Crime. All of the problems. To the African Americans who I employ so many. What the hell do you have to lose? You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street. You get shot,” he said.
Trump first posed this question to African American voters during a rally in North Carolina on Thursday, then repeated it at a rally in Michigan on Friday and Virginia on Saturday.
In Ohio on Monday, Trump alleged that in the past eight years, the African-American labour force participation dipped another three percentage points – and it’s dropped another six percent for teenagers.
“Nearly 4 in 10 African-American children live in poverty,” he said.
“For those hurting the most – who have been failed again and again by their politicians – I’ve asked in recent days, what do you have to lose by trying something new? If you keep voting for the same failed politicians you will keep getting the same results,” Trump said passionately.
Senior member of the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign Marlon Marshall responded to Trump saying it could not be clearer how much African Americans have to lose under the 70-year-old billionaire tycoon.
“He is doubling down on insults, fear and stereotypes that set our community back and further divide our country,” he said.
“But again this is not surprising, this is a man who questions the citizenship of the first African-American president, has a disturbing pattern of courting white supremacists, and has been sued for housing discrimination against communities of colour,” he alleged.
“As demonstrated by his bigotry and actions, Donald Trump is unfit and unqualified to be President. We cannot afford this out of touch and divisive thinking in the White House, which is why we must take nothing for granted and work as hard as we can to make sure Hillary Clinton is our next president,” Marshall said.