Lansing reacts to Donald Trump comments on black voters


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made a stop in Dimondale for a rally on Friday.

He’s polling at less than 1 percent with African American voters nationally, but he posed a controversial question during the rally as to why that’s the case.

“To those I say the following. What do you have to lose, by trying something new, like Trump. What do you have to lose? I say it again, what do you have to lose,” Trump said to a cheering crowd. “Look, what do you have to lose? You are living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs. 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

Immediately after the rally Friday night, the phone at the Lansing Branch of the NAACP was ringing off the hook.

“We fielded 400 calls Friday night, in four hours time,” said Yvonne Young, the President of the Lansing Branch of the NAACP.

The calls concerned Trump’s comments about black voters having nothing to lose by voting for him.

“What do we have to gain is the question at this point,” Young said.

Young says Trump’s comments were too broad.

“Many people were feeling very upset and disdain from the comments. He made it sound like African Americans are impoverished and uneducated and that is furthest from the truth,” Young said.

Working in the shadow of the Michigan State Capitol in his hot dog stand, Clint Tarver sees it differently.

“That’s not a blow to black people. What I’d say a blow would be is Hillary (Clinton) saying ‘I got a bottle of hot sauce in my pocket.’ And most black people carry hot sauce in their pockets,” Tarver said.

Tarver was at the rally, sitting right behind Trump.

“Change is a good thing. The democrats have been running the cities now for 50-60 years. Detroit, Chicago, all over. We need a change. And what have you got to lose?” Tarver said.

Trump’s comments were made to a majority white audience in Dimondale, which is a majority white community.

Young believes if Trump really wants African American voters to listen, he’ll have to come to them.

“Invite Mr. Trump back to Lansing. Not to Dimondale, but to Lansing where the majority of African American people in this area are populated, and have a sit-down conversation with him. We would enjoy that,” Young said.

Trump currently does not have any other campaign visits scheduled in Michigan.

However, Michigan is being seen as a swing state, so another visit in the future is possible.

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