Trump Continues Black Outreach Efforts By Campaigning At Detroit Church So far, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been speaking to largely white crowds when he asks African-Americans to vote for him. This weekend, Trump met with black voters in Detroit.

Trump Continues Black Outreach Efforts By Campaigning At Detroit Church

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump campaigned at a black church in Detroit yesterday, trying to step up his outreach to black voters. So far, his approval has been in the low single digits with that voting demographic, and previous overtures to the community have been called tone deaf. NPR's Sam Sanders was in Detroit yesterday, and he reports on how Trump's latest effort was received.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: The service began a few minutes late. The pews are about half-full. All the press and the Secret Service seems to make people there nervous. But once it began, the Saturday service at Greater Faith Ministries Church in Detroit sounded just like you'd expect.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How many know you're in the house of the Lord today? How many know he is a great God?

SANDERS: This service was different, though. There was a special guest at this almost all-black gathering. And even Pastor Wayne T. Jackson had to acknowledge that guest was kind of a little bit out of place.


WAYNE T JACKSON: First of all, I understand that this is his first African-American church he's been in, y'all (laughter).


SANDERS: But Donald Trump made his best effort - standing and clapping during the songs, sometimes on beats one, two, three and four, smiling, shaking hands, even holding a baby perhaps a little too high over his head. This was Trump black outreach version 2.0. After rumors all week that he wouldn't even address the crowd there, Trump spoke.


DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much.

SANDERS: Trump's message was very different than the question he had been asking black voters previously, which was - what do you have to lose?


TRUMP: You do right every day by your community and your families. You raise children in the light of God. I will always support your church - always - and defend your right to worship.

SANDERS: Trump said he came to listen. He called for a new civil rights agenda. He acknowledged that blacks still face discrimination in this country, and he listed some of the things he'd like to make happen for Detroit and the country.


TRUMP: We're going to bring jobs back. I will have a chance - thank you. We'll bring them back. Taking them back from Mexico and everywhere else because they're gone. I will have a chance to discuss school choice, which is very important, and how to put every American on the ladder to success - a great education and a great job.

SANDERS: Trump also closed his remarks with Scripture.


TRUMP: See, most groups I speak to don't know that, but we know it. If you want, we can say it...

SANDERS: Before the service, Trump also gave a one-on-one interview with Pastor Jackson. There had been rumors the interview would be entirely scripted, questions and answers. Trump didn't stay for the entire church service. After the pastor gave him a prayer shawl from Israel, Trump was off to a suburb of Detroit called River Rouge. His guide was Dr. Ben Carson - Detroit native, former presidential candidate, current Trump surrogate. Carson was showing Trump around his old neighborhood. They even said hi to the current owner of Carson's childhood home.


TRUMP: ...Very much, good luck.

FELICIA REESE: Oh, OK, all right. Well, you have a nice time at...

TRUMP: ...You, too. Watch that bee.

REESE: Thank you.

SANDERS: That's Felicia Reese. She's a nurse. But Trump and Carson weren't there long, maybe 10 minutes.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Mr. Trump, what did you think of your visit here today into Detroit?

TRUMP: I loved it.

SANDERS: Once they left, Reese told me she didn't actually know Trump was coming to her house yesterday. Also, she said this of Trump's black outreach.

REESE: I don't think he's real interested in us. He does...

SANDERS: ...Us being black people.

REESE: Yes. I don't think he's real interested in us.

SANDERS: Reese also offered her prediction on who would win in November.

REESE: The Democrats. Hillary Clinton.

SANDERS: I talked with several other black voters up and down the street. Several said this new effort at black outreach from Trump, it was all just too little, too late. Sam Sanders, NPR News, Detroit.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.