DIMONDALE, MI — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) hasn’t indicated much support for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, but in Trump’s visit to Michigan Friday, Trump seemed to be hoping one of the governor’s main ideas — Michigan as a comeback state — would come true for him, too.
In his first rally since the resignation of his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, in Dimondale, Trump focused his speech on issues directly affecting Michigan voters, such as the reemergence of the automobile industry, as well as attempted outreach to minority communities.
“I’ve been talking about Michigan and how your car industries and plants have been ripped out of your land and I’ve been doing it for four years for the people of Michigan,” Trump told the crowd. “Other people started talking about it last week — they’re not going to do anything about it.”
His speech came after a second big leadership shakeup of his campaign, following Manafort’s resignation after drops in the polls and scrutiny over his past ties to the Russia. In June, Trump also shifted his top advisors, firing then campaign manager Cory Lewandowski and promoting Manafort. Over the past few months, the candidate has consistently dropped in the polls — he currently is at 40 percent to 50 percent against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, according to an NBC poll released Friday, and is expected to shake up his campaign strategy more as it gets closer to November.
Choosing to revisit Michigan so soon after his last speech at the Detroit Economic Club last week could be an indication of the strategy change the campaign is trying to make, though he is is over 5 points behind Clinton in most state polls. Trump was slated to announce his economic plan when he was last in Michigan, but instead of listing specific policy points, he tied the city’s problems to Democratic-led policies such as the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement and the Trans Pacific Partnership.
In Friday’s speech, though he repeated points focusing on Clinton’s ties to NAFTA — created under her husband’s administration — and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she helped draft but has since revoked her support for, the speech mostly stayed local.
Speaking to a predominantly white audience, Trump listed off many issues he intends to improve within the African American community in cities like Detroit, pledging to win 95 percent of the Black vote in the 2020 election.
Currently, in most states, Trump is polling in the single digits among African Americans.
“You live in poverty,” Trump said, referencing African Americans. “Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. What the hell do you have to lose?”
Trump also drew a line between minority and refugee communities, charging that Clinton’s policies will only benefit foreigners.
“America must reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton who sees communities of color only as votes and not as human beings worthy of a better future,” Trump said. “Hillary Clinton would rather give a job to a refugee from overseas than to give that job to unemployed African American youth in cities like Detroit who are refugees in their own country.”
Trump also emphasized the automobile industry, calling Michigan’s automobile manufacturing a “disaster.”
He referenced plans by both General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler to invest in manufacturing automobiles in Mexico, saying he is the sole candidate who will keep car manufacturing jobs in Michigan.
“Mexico will become the car capital of the world very, very quickly, and Michigan’s going to end up with lots of empty buildings all over the place unless you elect Donald Trump as president,” he said.