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Trump defends both sides of the Black Lives Matter protests, says he 'will reject bigotry' as president

In a statement, he said he was behind the African-American community – but also defended the police force.

Image: Evan Vucci/Press Association

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE Donald Trump made a pitch to African-American voters last night, saying the Democrats had “betrayed” them and pledged he would revitalise impoverished urban communities.

He also criticised the Democrats as being “against the police”, in an apparent attempt to gather support from both sides of the debate.

His comments at a rally in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin came as something of a surprise from the Republican candidate, who until now has done little to endear himself to minorities.

With polls showing the bombastic billionaire trailing his White House opponent Hillary Clinton overall and in battleground states, it appeared Trump was trying to expand his support base beyond his core of working-class white voters.

I’m asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different and much better future. It’s time for our society to address some honest and very, very difficult truths.

“The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community.”

Black Americans tend to vote Democratic – and Clinton has a solid lead among the demographic.

But Trump said Democrats have “taken the votes of African-Americans for granted. They just assume they’ll get your support and done nothing in return for it,” he said.

It’s time to rebuild the inner cities of America and to reject the failed leadership of a rigged political system.

Trump was speaking in West Bend following a spasm of racially charged violence over the weekend in Wisconsin’s largest city of Milwaukee after police there shot dead a black man.

Black Lives Matter Protest - London Source: Empics Entertainment

Officials said the 23-year-old man was armed, but the death angered residents, as it echoes a series of deadly police incidents in the United States involving mainly African-American suspects.

Trump, as well as saying that he supported the black community, also sympathised with the American police force. In a statement posted on Facebook, Trump said:

The problem in our poorest communities is not that there are too many police, the problem is that there are not enough police. More law enforcement, more community engagement, more effective policing is what our country needs.

“Just like Hillary Clinton is against the miners, she is against the police. You know it, and I know it.”

Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society – a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent – share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee, and many other places within our country.

Bigotry

Trump’s outreach to black voters came yesterday, after he said that he would reject bigotry “in all forms” if elected president.

It was another unexpected move from the Republican nominee, who during his presidential campaign has vowed to ban Muslim immigrants and erect a wall to prevent Mexican immigration.

“This is my pledge to the American people: as your president I will be your greatest champion,” Trump said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally and honored equally,” he said.

“We will reject bigotry and hatred and oppression in all its forms, and seek a new future built on our common culture and values as one American people.”

The embattled Trump has made a successful campaign out of incendiary rhetoric and defying political correctness.

But a recent series of gaffes had even members of his own party begging him to reel in the brash remarks.

Trump’s denigration of the family of a fallen Muslim-American soldier was seen by many as a monumental campaign misstep and a turning point in the contentious 2016 presidential race.

The two sides slung criticism at each other, with the soldier’s father accusing Trump of Islamophobia and assailing his “ignorance and arrogance”.

© – AFP, 2016

Read: Trump calls for ‘extreme vetting’ of immigrants, looks for ‘common ground with Russia’

Read: Trump denies that the ousted former head of Fox News is prepping him for debates with Hillary

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