Trump outlines economic plan amid protests

Monday, August 8, 2016 - 3:04pm

DETROIT— Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump visited Michigan to speak to the Detroit Economic Club about his soon-to-be-released economic plan and to issue criticisms Hillary Clinton amid protests inside and out of the Cobo Center.

Trump's speech addressed his economic plan — one of his campaign's strongest aspects — following a tumultuous campaign week, in which he controversially feuded with the Khans, the family of a fallen Muslim American soldier who spoke at the Democratic National Convention last week. A recent Washington Post-ABC poll showed Trump eight points behind Clinton.

Also in attendance at the rally was Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette who said he cannot personally stand by all of the statements Trump has made but believes Trump is the better candidate in this year's election. Schuette said he supports Trump despite the comments he's made about minorities — he believes Trump is the better candidate in terms of economic change.

“I’ve said months ago that comments that he’s made about women and minorities and Hispanics and disables, that’s not Bill Schuette, everybody knows that,” he said. “But the fact is, now we have two people. It’s Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, and this is about jobs and paychecks, and it’s about change.”

In his speech, Trump outlined the city of Detroit as a once-great metropolis, which has been ruined by trade policies enacted by Democratic leadership. Trump said Detroit’s fall came when the government allowed other countries to outperform the United States.

“The city of Detroit is where our story begins,” he said. “Detroit was once the economic envy of the world, but for many living in this city, that dream has long ago vanished. When we abandoned the policy of America first, we started rebuilding other countries instead of our own. The skyscrapers went up in Beijing while factories and neighborhoods crumbled right here in Detroit.”

Trump’s speech included much criticism of Clinton, stating her policies would be disastrous for the city and country. He even said Clinton has contributed to the city’s troubles and should apologize for doing so.

In his speech Trump accused Clinton of still harboring her support for Trans-Pacific Partnership — which has been theorized by its opponents to have the potential to export more American jobs overseas and increase the price of pharmaceutical and other high-cost goods — as she had supported it while working under the Obama administration and has since denounced. He also accused Clinton of supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement — enacted under Bill Clinton — which is believed to have resulted in millions of dollars of trade deficit with Canada and Mexico and the loss of millions of American jobs.

"A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for TPP and NAFTA,” he said. “Before NAFTA went into effect, there were 285,000 auto workers in Michigan. Today that number is only 160,000. Detroit is still waiting for Hillary Clinton’s apology. She’s been a disaster. I expect Detroit will get that apology right around the same time Hillary Clinton turns over those 33,000 e-mails she deleted."

Trump promised to release a more detailed economic plan in the weeks to come.

Michigan has come into question as a swing state this election season, despite voting Democratic in every presidential election since 1988. Both vice-presidential nominees have already visited the state, and Clinton is scheduled to speak Thursday in the state, where she will also address her economic plan.

According to Rusy Hills, University professor of public policy, the economic appeal will be key for the Trump campaign in winning the state.

“This is the number one issue: jobs, paychecks and the economy,” he said. “He’s right in the voter sweet spot. The fact that he’s doing it in Michigan shows that Michigan is in play."

Trump’s speech was interrupted by 14 protesters — the majority of whom were women. Female protestors shouted phrases such as: “You have to answer to women,” while a sole male protester repeatedly shouted “tiny hands” as he was escorted out.

Outside the Cobo Center, approximately 100 protesters attempted to form a human wall, blocking Trump’s entry. Signs held by the protesters denoted a number of controversial issues including the Khan family controversy, Palestine relations and Trump's proposed wall and conservative immigration policies.

Debra Simmons, who was there protesting Trump's candidacy, said Trump's offensive comments showcased throughout his campaign make him unrepresentative of the public.

“Who wants a hater in the White House? He’s not for the people,” she said. “His issues do not reflect what the people want.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D–Mich.) was also in attendance at the event, despite her endorsement of Clinton. She said that despite Trump’s economic agenda, his historical actions do not indicate that he will help Detroit, the state of Michigan or the working class.

“He says one thing but his actions don’t match up,” she said. “While I want jobs here, he’s exporting jobs to China and other countries. … When he talks about autos, Hillary Clinton voted for a package that saved the auto industry. He opposed it.”