Trump ramps up minority outreach with Kitchener visit – News – southcoasttoday.com

kitchener (AP) “Donald Trump found tears and gratitude on Friday as he sat with African American supporters, including the mother of a young woman killed in an attack by a group that included men who entered the US illegally were.

The successive meetings, held in a ballroom in northwest Kitchener, underscored the balancing act the Republican candidate is playing as he tries to increase his support in the race against Democrat Hillary Clinton. While Trump works to expand his appeal among moderate and minority voters, he is also working to maintain his popularity with his core GOP base by expressing his tough views on immigration.

In an invitation-only discussion, Trump met with a dozen local business, citizen, and religious leaders who praised him for getting “to the hood” as part of his public relations work. Trump was warmly welcomed by the group, including Daphne Goggins, a local Republican official, who wiped away tears as she introduced herself to Trump. “For the first time in my life,” she told him, “I have a feeling that my voice will count.”

Renee Amoore, a local business leader, assured Trump that despite his low reputation in public opinion polls, he has support in the black community.

“People are saying, Mr. Trump, that you don’t have African American support. We want you to know you do,” she said. “We value you and what you’ve done as ‘the hood’ as people call it. It’s a big deal.”

However, Trump’s meeting also highlighted the challenges he faces with African Americans and Latinos. Protesters gathered outside the building where Trump appeared, and a coalition of union leaders met nearby to denounce Trump’s contact with black voters as insincere and insulting.

Labor District Council’s Ryan Boyer said Trump “has no prescription to help downtown America.”

“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,” Boyer said at council headquarters. “He hasn’t done anything for African Americans in 30 years of public life. We reject his idea that if we support him, we have nothing to lose.”

The next stop for Trump is Detroit, where around 83 percent of the population is black. He is expected to attend a church with a predominantly black congregation on Saturday.

In addition to planning trips to urban centers, Trump has redesigned his election campaign to include a direct appeal to African Americans and Hispanics that decades of democratic politics have failed. “You live in your poverty, your schools are not good, you have no jobs,” he argued recently.

So far, however, Trump’s reach has largely decreased. Many minority voters have found Trump’s horrific description of their lives condescending, and African American community leaders have conveyed Trump’s message “largely in front of overwhelmingly white rally spectators” rather than to reassure undecided white voters that he is not racist than too real help communities of color. Public opinion polls show that Clinton votes well ahead of Trump in minority voters.

Even on Friday, the signs of his unpopularity hung subtly in the background. The pastor, who runs the non-profit organization where he publicly holds his meetings, distanced himself from the visit.

Participant Debbie Williams, a Republican running for Congress, told Trump her race “is going well” but added, “I can only imagine what will happen after the meeting.”

Trump continues to take a tough stance on illegal immigration, the dangers of which he reiterated on Friday. The New York billionaire met with Shagla Hightower, whose daughter Iofemi was killed along with two friends in an attack on a school playground in Newark, New Jersey, in 2007.

In an emotional exchange, Shalga Hightower said the murderers of her daughters “should never have been here” and praised Trump for recognizing her daughter. “I really thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said as Trump listened carefully. At one point, she and her publicist hugged each other in tears, and Trump put his hand on Hightower’s shoulder for comfort.

At his events, Trump introduced parents whose children were killed by people living illegally in the United States.

Hightower’s story is “a terrible story,” Trump said, “but it’s a story that many people go through.”

“Huge numbers, tens of thousands of people, are affected,” he claimed, adding that Clinton “has no idea and doesn’t care.”

Studies have shown that immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes than US-born Americans.

Also on Friday, the FBI released 58 pages of documents from its recently completed investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State.

The documents contain a summary of the agents’ interviews with Clinton and several of their employees, as well as technical details about how the server in the basement of Clinton’s house was set up.

After a year-long investigation, the FBI recommended prosecution in July and the Justice Department closed the case. Neither Clinton nor her runner-up Tim Kaine had any campaign events planned on Friday.

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Associate press writer Errin Haines Whack contributed to this report.

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Follow Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj

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