CHARLOTTE, NC — Donald Trump offered a “new deal” to African Americans in a speech at the McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square on Wednesday afternoon, packing hundreds of supporters into the former Baptist church, an unusually small arena for the GOP nominee.
“Today I want to talk about how to grow the African-American middle class, and provide a new deal for black America,” Trump began.
That “new deal” rests on three pillars — “safe communities, great education, and high-paying jobs” — and one principle: “America first.”
Trump’s pitch to African Americans has been drawing some support. The most recent poll in Pennsylvania showed Trump winning 29% of the black vote, and 30% of the Hispanic vote, in the Keystone State.
“Here’s the promise I make to you: whether you vote for me or not, I will be your greatest champion. We live in a very divided country, but I will be your greatest champion,” he said.
“Our opponent represents the rigged system and the failed thinking of yesterday,” he said, adding that Hillary Clinton’s campaign represented pessimism. “She’s been doing this for thirty years, and for thirty years it’s only gotten worse.”
Trump’s voice, slightly hoarse, brightened when he described his “movement” — “there’s never been anything like it in this country,” he said. He described the opportunity for change in the political system as “once in a lifetime.”
He went on to describe the many sacrifices made by African Americans for the country — and the dire state of the community today.
“In 2015, violent crime in Charlotte increased by 18%, and it’s expected to rise to 24% this year,” he said. He noted that Democrats had governed in African American communities for decades — and achieved nothing.
Trump shaped his broader economic policies for a specifically African American audience. describing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a threat to jobs in the black community, and talking about illegal immigration as a violation of the civil rights of black Americans. “We won’t let your jobs be stolen from you anymore,” he said.
He added that he would cancel subsidies for climate change, “including all global warming payments to the United Nations,” and redirect what he said would be $100 billion over eight years into inner city infrastructure.
On education, Trump said: “School choice is the civil rights issue of our time.” He vowed to be the “greatest champion” of school choice for disadvantaged children.
He also touted vocational education, remarking that everyone knew classmates who were less adept at book learning but who could take apart a television with their eyes closed, drawing applause from the crowd.
On public safety, Trump — who has often cast himself as the law-and-order candidate — said that he had listened to the concerns of the black community, and that under his administration, the law would be applied “fairly, equally, and without prejudice.”
He also slammed what he called a double standard that benefited Hillary Clinton, saying that if he had done what she had done, he would receive “the electric chair.”
He noted that Clinton associate Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia, had given nearly $500,000 in campaign donations to the wife of the deputy director of the FBI as Clintons case was under consideration.
Later, in discussing corruption, Trump was met with chants of “Drain the swamp!”, his latest slogan on the campaign trail.
Trump added that his “new deal” also included “the protection of religious liberty,” which drew a standing ovation. He vowed “support for the African-American church,” which he said had been a “tremendous power” in America.
He closed with a swipe at Obamacare, reminding the audience that Obama had lied to sell the plan. “Obamacare is now destroying our health care system.” He noted that premiums in Arizona were soaring 118%. “Doctors are quitting, insurers are leaving, and companies are fleeing … If we don’t repeal and replace Obamacare, we will lose our health care system forever.”
The audience was a diverse one, and welcomed Trump warmly.
Herb, an international marketing specialist from Fort Mill, South Carolina, told Breitbart News he expects Trump to win North Carolina decisively despite polls showing a statistical dead heat — thanks to the role of silent Trump supporters.
“I’m Puerto Rican. I’m Latino. I’m supposed to be a Democrat. I just came out of the closet,” he said. “How can anybody by happy with the idea of Hillary Clinton as president? Considering all she’s done — not said, but done.”
Prior to the address, Trump had met backstage with a group of African-American faith and community leaders from North Carolina.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.