Donald Trump informed black Americans that they are currently experiencing their worst living conditions yet during a Tuesday campaign rally in North Carolina.
“We’re going to rebuild our inner cities because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before,” Trump told a crowd in Kenansville. “Ever, ever, ever.”
“You take a look at the inner cities: You get no education. You get no jobs. You get shot walking down the street,” he continued. “They’re worse, I mean honestly, places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities.”
These comments, which ignore the United States’ ugly history of chattel slavery and state-sponsored racial discrimination, are representative of Trump’s recent outreach to black voters. Trump made several visits to majority minority Midwestern cities in recent weeks as part of his belated effort to make inroads with this demographic group, where he told congregants at black churches that he was there to “listen.”
One pastor in Flint, Michigan wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post that she invited Trump to her church to show him “that this nation is filled with intelligent, wise, black citizens of integrity” who are “braving a manmade catastrophe.” Trump later called her a “nervous mess” and suggested she tried to sabotage him by interrupting his speech on stage to tell him to stop speaking dismissively about Hillary Clinton. She said the address was not supposed to focus on Flint’s water crisis, not politics.
Trump told the Kenansville crowd that his approach was working, however.
“I say to the African-American communities, and I think it’s resonating, because you see what’s happening with my poll numbers with African-Americans. They’re going, like, high,” he said.
The real estate mogul has failed to break out of the single digits among black voters. A Washington Post-ABC News average of poll data from August and September found that Trump earned only 5 percent of support in this demographic.