Donald Trump was in Flint, Michigan, on Wednesday, where his outreach to African-American voters continued, this time at the predominantly black Bethel United Methodist Church.
It did not go very smoothly.
The first sign of trouble came before the candidate even started speaking. Upon arriving, attendees were given pamphlets that assured them that his appearance “in no way represents an endorsement.” The mood got even worse when Trump actually took the stage.
The church’s pastor interrupted Trump in the middle of his speech, just as he started laying into Hillary Clinton. “Everything she touched didn’t work out. Nothing,” he said, as Reverend Faith Green Timmons jumped in. “Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us, not make a political speech,” she said.
Trump took the admonishment in stride, but that didn’t stop the interruptions. Soon the crowd got involved, with parishioners shouting out questions from the audience.
When one attendee yelled out a question about reports that Trump “discriminated against black tenants” in the 1970s, he responded, trailing off, “No, I’d never, never would, never would, never would.”
The awkwardness continued even after Trump had finished speaking and left the podium. One church member pursued him, asking repeatedly what he meant when he said that black voters had “nothing to lose” by voting for him.
Donald had a much better rapport with the employees — and especially the managers — at Flint’s water-treatment plant, which he toured for 15 minutes before heading to the church.
At the plant he expressed his gratitude — as the New York Times so aptly put it — to the “managers in the same town that had its water poisoned,” telling them, “It’s not an easy situation, but you’ll get it under control.”
Before he left he thanked “the folks from Flint” and the “really, really good executives.”
Michigan has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, and recent polls suggest they’re not about to start.