Trump plans Sept. 3 trip to Detroit, church visit

Chad Livengood, and Jonathan Oosting

Donald Trump is planning a Labor Day weekend visit to Detroit as part of a continued appeal to African-American voters while Democratic rival Hillary Clinton contends Trump’s presidential campaign is defined by “racist undertones.”

The Republican presidential hopeful has been trading barbs with Clinton in recent days over racial issues, which have dogged Trump throughout the campaign.

The New York businessman has called Clinton “a bigot,” arguing that the former secretary of state panders to black voters for their support.

Clinton contends Trump has stirred up a “radical fringe” within the Republican Party, attempting to tie him to the alt-right white identity movement and criticizing Trump for not quickly renouncing support from former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke during the GOP primaries.

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The racial debate between the two leading presidential candidates comes a week before Trump will make his second trip to Detroit in a month. It will happen on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend when Democrats are typically firing up their campaign machine.

Jason Miller, senior communications adviser to the Trump campaign, confirmed late Thursday that the New York businessman will visit Detroit on Sept. 3, but other details were not ready to be publicly announced.

But plans are in the works for Trump to visit Great Faith Ministries International church on Grand River and participate in an event televised on Bishop Wayne T. Jackson’s Christian television program, said the Rev. W.J. Rideout III, pastor of All God’s People Church.

Rideout told The Detroit News that Jackson briefed him on the Trump visit.

Jackson’s “Miracles Do Happen” television show on The Impact Network airs live at 1 p.m. on Saturdays, according to the TV program’s website.

Terry Arnold, senior vice president of Impact Television, declined to comment Friday and said details of a Trump visit to the church would be announced on Monday. Jackson did not return messages Thursday and Friday seeking comment.

Rideout said he plans to organize a protest next Saturday outside of Jackson’s church, 10735 Grand River Ave.

“I think he’s a racist, I think he’s a bigot and I think he doesn’t have a care for human kind,” Rideout said about Trump.

The real estate developer’s visit to Detroit on Labor Day weekend intersects with the Democratic Party’s traditional use of the holiday to get labor union members engaged in the fall election.

Detroit’s Labor Day parade is mainstay for national Democratic politicians, attracting President Barack Obama in 2012 and Vice President Joe Biden in 2014.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has not said whether Clinton; her running mate, Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, or some other high-profile Democratic Party official will be on hand for this year’s parade.

“I usually don’t find out until the Monday or Tuesday before the event,” said Rick Blocker, president of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO. “There has been some conversation, but nothing’s been confirmed.”

Trump will be in Detroit the same day Green Party candidate Jill Stein is planning to rally her supporters at an event from noon to 3 p.m. at Bert’s Warehouse Theater on Russell.

Wayne Bradley, deputy state director and African-American engagement director for the Michigan Republican Party, told The News on Wednesday that Trump would meet with black business owners and faith-based leaders during his visit to the Motor City.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to have a direct conversation with folks he wants to help,” Bradley said.

Bradley, who helps run a Republican field office in the Democratic stronghold of Detroit, said he believes there are more black voters open to bucking Clinton and the Democratic establishment this year.

“If you’re willing to put in time, people want to hear what you have to say,” Bradley said. “I truly believe a lot of people in this community don’t trust Hillary Clinton, so if he gives them time, I think he will win over some people in Detroit.”

Trump visited Detroit on Aug. 8 to deliver a speech about his economic and tax policy plans to 1,500 members and guests of the Detroit Economic Club at Cobo Center.

When Trump campaigned a week ago in suburban Lansing, he made a direct appeal to black voters, arguing that they haven’t fared well economically, especially in Democrat-controlled cities, after decades of primarily voting for Democratic politicians.

“What the hell do you have to lose?” Trump asked.

Some pundits have questioned the electoral strategy of Trump’s repeated appeal to African-American voters in front of mostly white audiences during the past week.

But pollster Richard Czuba said Trump’s message of railing against trade policies previously supported by Clinton could resonate with working-class African-American voters in the same way it has built him a base of support among working-class whites.

“I think the jobs narrative could have resonance if he effectively applies it because it resonates with all voters,” said Czuba, president and owner of the Lansing-based Glengariff Group Inc.

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Twitter: @ChadLivengood