Behind The Scenes With Trump In Detroit: How The Donald Has Become 'The Hope Candidate'
DETROIT, Michigan — Donald Trump, the 2016 GOP presidential nominee, delivered a positive and uplifting message filled with hope and opportunity here at the Great Faith Ministries International church.
In addition to Dr. Ben Carson and Omarosa, Breitbart News accompanied Trump on the trip to Detroit to provide an original and behind-the-scenes look into how he is offering an uplifting message to all Americans—including the black community.
"Our nation is too divided. We talk past each other, not to each other and those who seek office do not do enough to step into the community and learn what is going on," Trump told the church-goers from the podium, where he briefly spoke about why he was there. "They don't know. They have no clue. I'm here today to learn. So that we can together remedy injustice, in any form. And so that we can also remedy economics so that the African-American community can benefit economically through jobs and income and so many other different ways."
Trump's speech on the podium came after he taped an interview with Bishop Wayne Jackson, who along with his wife Dr. Beverly Jackson, serve as the senior pastors for the inner city Detroit church. The interview will air next week.
After the interview, before Trump's speech, he sat in the front row of the church's pews for the opening of the Saturday service—and even danced along a little bit with the black leaders as the service opened up with a few upbeat songs. Later in the day, with Carson as his guide, Trump visited Carson's boyhood home in Detroit–walking down Carson's street talking to the people there, many of whom seemed supportive of what Trump is doing.
In the speech in the church, Trump laid out how the permanent political class has failed everyone in the United States including America's black communities.
"Our political system has failed the people and works only to enrich itself," Trump said. "I want to reform that system so that it works for you, everyone in this room. I believe true reform can only come from outside the system. I really mean that. Being a businessman is much different than being a politician because I understand what is happening. And we are going outside the establishment."
Trump has already successfully defined himself as a candidate of change, while his opponent Hillary Clinton represents the status quo. In this Detroit event, however, aides to Trump note he took a different tact: His new aim, in addition to representing change, is to begin representing "hope"—and a positive outlook for the United States with an uplifting policy agenda designed to fix problems for everyone in the country.
"What we're seeing is a fundamental shift in the campaign," Jason Miller, Trump's senior communications adviser, told Breitbart News. "Mr. Trump was already the change candidate, but this week his message of inclusion and optimism made him the hope candidate as well. With Hillary having abandoned the campaign trail in order to dodge questions about her continual ethics issues, I'm not sure how she ever gets that back."
Trump offered policy specifics for the inner cities: he called for a revitalized Motor City, with "factories everywhere" and "new roads and bridges" as well as "new schools—especially schools."
But the most important promise in Trump's speech came at the end of that line, when the billionaire businessman and political outsider promised the people of Detroit—and really everyone nationwide who was listening as the speech was carried live on major networks—"new hope."
The themes of "hope" and "change" are strong in the American electorate, and it's those two promises that propelled Barack Obama—America's sitting two-term president—into the White House in 2008. Many, whether they like Obama or not, do not believe he has delivered on the promises he made of hope and change. Many believe he has failed, and has become one of the most divisive presidents along party lines in history, alienating millions of Americans who don't support his agenda.
"Mr. Trump is working hard for all votes because he wants to be a voice for all Americans," Trump's national spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, who is also black and accompanied the campaign on this Detroit trip, told Breitbart News. "He came to Detroit to listen, and became a voice of hope."
Pierson noted his positive tone in this speech, before a church congregation in the inner city—which drew him a standing ovation after he quoted from Scripture—is a problem-solving themed agenda.
"He gave a positive uplifting speech and delivered a strong policy agenda for economic growth, education, and prosperity for communities that have suffered under insider politicians," Pierson said.
In the event, Omarosa, the former Apprentice contestant, noted, "the spirit was so high." At one point, Trump even held up and kissed a baby.
"Did you see how many 'amens' Donald Trump got?" she told Breitbart News backstage after Trump spoke. "It was just incredible to see him connect with the parishioners and really bring a powerful word of hope to this congregation. I thought it was phenomenal."
Omarosa, who's also now a pastor as Trump noted in his speech, said Trump is clearly gaining support in the black community.
"You were in the room," she said. "You felt the spirit. It was authentic. It was a very natural connection because they know that Mr. Trump is going to fight for them. When he talked about jobs, when he talked about the economy, when he talked about his family and his faith, they connected, because those are things that all Americans worry about. They're worried about their families, they're worried about their futures. And they're very excited about someone who's going to put God back into the schools, God back into every element of our lives. Unapologetically, Mr. Trump is a man of faith."
Carson echoed Omarosa in his own exclusive interview with Breitbart News.
"I thought it was extremely well done," Carson said of the event backstage afterwards. "Donald Trump was well-received by the audience here and it's very important for people to see for themselves rather than have this man interpreted for them by the media that has another agenda. The whole concept of togetherness and strength, we have radical Islamic terrorists who want to destroy us. And we're just going to make it easy for them if we try to destroy ourselves. We need somebody who really wants to look at the totality—how do we Make America Great Again? We can't make it great again unless every part is great, including cities like Detroit."
After Trump was so well received in this Detroit church, Bishop Jackson bestowed upon him a prayer shawl on stage before Trump moved on to his next stop in the inner city.
Carson, Trump's former rival in the primaries turned strong supporter, advised him on the way here on messaging and tone, and the results of the advice Trump is taking not just from Carson but others in his inner circle including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, his running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and more, is showing up in the analytics. Carson told Breitbart News that Trump is gaining support in the black community.
"You look at the NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll that was out a couple of weeks ago, he got 1 percent of the black vote," Carson said. "A week later he got 8 percent of the black vote. I suspect it will only go up because he's reaching out. In the past, the black community felt there was really no other alternative except the Democrats—even though the Democrats weren't doing anything for them. I think it's good to introduce some competition here. Let the Democrats come up with something that really works. And let the Republican come up with something that works, and let people make a decision based on something intelligent rather than blind loyalty."
That NBC polling is hardly the only indicator that Trump's support in the black community is increasing, despite media claims otherwise. In fact, as Breitbart News reported after his speech in West Bend, Wisconsin, in the wake of recent Milwaukee riots, Trump's appeal in the black community according to Los Angeles Times polling increased multiple fold up to more than 14 percent. And the way that the Democratic Party—and particularly Hillary Clinton—are responding to it is not by offering any substantive criticism or alternative policy-focused solutions for America's struggling inner cities like Detroit. Instead, she went to Reno, Nevada, a little more than a week ago to slam Trump as a racist in her speech, bashing the "alt-right" in the wake of Trump's hiring of Stephen K. Bannon—Breitbart News' executive chairman who is currently on leave from this network—as his campaign CEO. Carson said Hillary Clinton's attacks on Trump over race are "absurd" and a "desperate play."
"Really, when you stop and think about it, the real racism are the people who think that people have to think a certain way—they have to act a certain way—and if they don't they're an 'Uncle Tom,' they're a 'traitor,' what have you," Carson said. "That's ridiculous. That's the most racist thing I've ever heard."
Indeed, during his speech, Trump made a reference back to the fact that the party that nominated him for president—the Republican Party—freed the slaves under President Abraham Lincoln, who was a Republican. Republicans have led the way on Civil Rights for more than a century, championing the civil rights reforms of the 20th Century, and have led the way on women's rights as well.
"Becoming the nominee of the Party of Abraham Lincoln — a lot of people don't realize that Abraham Lincoln, the great Abraham Lincoln was a Republican — has been the greatest honor of my life," Trump said. "It is on his legacy that I hope to build the future of the Party but more important the future of the country and the community."
Trump has, in previous interviews with Breitbart News, expressed how proud he is to carry on this Republican tradition of leading on civil and women's rights while Democrats choose to not only not lead, but in many cases work on the other side. In this speech—in the aforementioned policy specifics—Trump laid out how he plans to lead on the 21st Century's civil rights agenda, an agenda focused on jobs, education and opportunity for all.
Just like with previous civil rights movements, Democrats—who have nearly unanimously ruled America's inner cities for decades, in some cases more than half a century, driving their economies into the ground—are on the other side of the civil rights agenda.
"I believe that we need a civil rights agenda for our time," Trump said. "One that ensures the rights to a great education — so important — and the right to live in safety and in peace and to have a really, really great job. A good paying job and one that you love going to every morning. That can happen. We need to bring our companies back."
Pastor Darrell Scott, a Cleveland-area black pastor and Trump supporter who was in attendance in Detroit on Saturday, issued a statement from the campaign shortly after the event.
"In his remarks today, Donald Trump called for a new civil rights agenda that includes the right to a safe community, the right to a great education and the right to a secure job," Scott stated. "These civil rights are in addition to the fundamental, constitutional civil rights of our society and the absolute commitment to equal protection, ending discrimination and safeguarding the dignity of all citizens – and that includes their inviolable freedoms and liberties. Mr. Trump will also defend our religious freedoms, and the freedom of Americans from all communities to worship in peace."
In addition to Scott's statement, the Trump campaign detailed the policy specifics in a press release designed to address each of the "civil rights agenda" items and more. It's because of these efforts that Lynne Patton, a black woman executive who has worked for the Trumps in various capacities for years, was so proud of her boss in Detroit on Saturday.
"I could not have been more proud to stand by this incredible man's side today," Patton, who in addition to serving as the Trump campaign's Trump family ambassador is working on minority engagement for the campaign, told Breitbart News. "The immediate bipartisan headlines that followed praising my boss' call for unity, inclusion, dialogue acceptance commitment & opportunity cannot even begin to measure the level of energy & excitement that enveloped us from the moment we stepped off the plane. The Motor City will prosper once again under a Trump Administration."
Patton became a surprise star at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, where she delivered a sizzling speech about how Donald Trump and his family care about everyone—a speech that came after a video she crafted detailing how Trump's companies have hired more minority and women executives than any other she's worked at. What Patton, Omarosa and so many others who have worked with Trump over the years suggest is that the real estate magnate has always cared about the black community; and that he wasn't attacked by Democrats on racial lines until he ran for president as a Republican. Trump, despite the mainstream media narrative to the contrary, has a long and deep history of breaking racial barriers and working African American leaders on issues of equality and civil rights.
"As someone who has been with this family each and every day for the past seven years, I know Mr. Trump—I know his heart and I know his passion for this country to be true," Patton said at the RNC. She continued:
Tonight, as we stand in the shadow of one of the darkest months in modern American history I know now more than ever that Donald Trump is the law and order leader we need to heal a wounded and divided nation. We all watched, horrified and helpless, as a radical Islamic terrorist targeted members of the LGBTQ community in Orlando. We've seen discord in our urban communities sparked by the senseless deaths of young black men in Baton Rouge, in Minnesota, and far too many places around this country. We watched in horror as our nation's finest were gunned down in Dallas and Baton Rouge as they sought to protect the very people protesting them. But in order to heal as a nation, we must stop viewing these incidents as attacks on the LGBTQ community or attacks on the black community or even attacks on the law enforcement community. They are attacks on America, they are attacks on our values, they are attacks on the very foundation of civil society. Sadly, there is not one person in this room who can deny that historically black lives have mattered less. My life mattered less, and whether we like it or not, there are people out there who still believe this to be true. But tonight, as a minority myself, I personally pledge to you that Donald Trump knows that your life matters, he knows that my life matters, he knows that LGBTQ lives matter, he knows that veterans lives matter, and he knows that blue lives matter. This country is sadly more divided than it was eight years ago. But tonight, don't hope for change: Be the change.
To wrap it all up, it wouldn't have been a complete day if Trump didn't thank the law enforcement community in Michigan for everything they do. Back at his plane before heading back to New York City, Trump took individual photos with many of the officers who were part of his security detail during the Detroit trip–and a group photo with all of them.
In contrast to Trump, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president, goes for days without doing public events. In fact, it has now been 273 days since she held a press conference.