Trump Goes to Black Church in Detroit; Wishes He Could Say This

This piece has been updated since its initial posting.


On Saturday, Donald Trump visited one of Detroit’s major African-American churches as part of his purported outreach to black voters. Many commentators say this plan is really about increasing his appeal to white voters in swing districts who may feel uncomfortable voting for the Republican presidential nominee because of his harsh and often insensitive rhetoric on racial issues and his ties to the racist alt-right movement. To prepare Trump for his grilling by Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of the Great Faith Ministeries International Church, the candidate's staff, along with aides at the Republican National Committee, prepared answers for him to deliver, which were leaked to the New York Times.

But the prepared answers were so un-Trumplike that I couldn't help but imagine what the Republican presidential nominee would really like to say. So I've taken the liberty, below, of adding into the script what past evidence suggests the candidate might actually be thinking. My Trumpian additions appear in bold.

Trump’s Michigan visit is expected to include a tour of Detroit with Ben Carson, Trump’s former rival for the Republican nomination, as his guide. Carson, a pioneering neurosurgeon, is also African American and grew up in a family that was financially strapped.

Before Trump embarking on his scheduled tour, Trump attended a service at the Great Faith Ministries International Church, where he was scheduled to sit for an interview with Jackson that was initially reported as being closed to the press and the general public. (That restriction apparently changed by the time Trump visited the church Saturday.) The bishop’s questions, reports the New York Times, were submitted in advance. According to the Times, "And instead of letting Mr. Trump be his freewheeling self, his campaign prepared lengthy answers for the submitted questions, consulting black Republicans to make sure he says the right things."

Those answers were published by the Times on Friday. My Trumpian additions appear in bold; occasionally I imagine Trump crossing out the speechwriter’s text and supplanting it with his own, in which case, you'll see a strikethru and replacement text in bold.

Q. Are you a Christian and do you believe the Bible is an inspired word of God?

As I went through my life, things got busy with business, but my family kept me grounded to the truth and the word of God. I treasure my relationship with my family, and through them, I have a strong faith enriched by an ever-wonderful a great God. A really tremendous God. Tremendous, my God. Believe me. Dr. James Dobson called me “a baby Christian,” but really I’m a very successful Christian. Very, very successful. So tremendously successful that I’m speaking next week at the big, Christian Values Voter Summit—I love the evangelicals—despite my three marriages and involvement in the gambling industry. Who else gets to do all those things?

Q. Mr. Trump, there is racial divide in our country and it is evident that the tension is boiling over. Case in point: Reverend Pinckney in South Carolina was gunned down when a white young man came into their Bible Study and slaughtered the Reverend and eight other individuals because he wanted to start a race war. What would your administration do to bring down the racial tension that is in our country? In the Bible Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand.

Our best hope for erasing racial tensions in America is to work toward a color-blind society. In business, we hire, retain and award based on merit. So, what you have in the African-American community: a merit problem. That’s why only six CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are African American. Great, great people those six. Unbelievable people.

In society, however, we have divisions that can only be eliminated if we have equal opportunity and then equal access to programs and institutions that will lift all people in the country. I’m talking about the ones with merit, right? Remember that. Like the merit of having a dad who gives you a $1 million to start a business. Fatherhood. So important. We have to reform our tax system so that we can spur economic growth for the long haul. It’s disgusting that my kids will have to pay taxes on my estate if I ever die. But no plans yet for that big escalator in the sky. None. Remember that.

We have to have stronger enforcement of immigration laws. If I can just pit you people against the Hispanics, maybe you’ll all stay home on November 8. Then I win. I win big-league.

We have to renegotiate our trade deals so that we can bring advantage back to the American workforce. But perhaps most important is that we must provide equal opportunity for a quality education for all Americans. I know about quality education. I used to have a university. A great, great university. Don’t believe the Mexican judge. So unfair. The higher the educational attainment, the greater the likelihood one can climb the economic ladder.

We must bring school choice programs to our cities and we must get rid of Common Core. Imagine a flood of tax dollars to schools like Trump University. So great. We must make sure that access, affordability and accountability are brought into our higher education system. That’s where the tentacles come in. I have a great tentacles plan for education. Tentacles—so important. Like I told Hannity, the Department of Education can largely be eliminated, but you still want to have a little bit of tentacles out there. No, not the Japanese porn kind. We’ll work on that when we renegotiate the trade deals. Without a focus on educational outcomes for every American, we will perpetuate the permanent underclass that progressive policies have sustained. Permanent underclass—that’s you, right? You with your drugs and poverty and shootings? Sad! Republicans like me Republicans like me? Kellyanne, you’re fired! You’re kidding, right? There are no Republicans like me! Ask Priebus. Great guy. Switzerland. need to have the courage to speak the truth free-associate about where we are and what has to be done. We have to have the courage to go into communities and work with everyone there to make sure that our schools are good and that our children have access to the whatever educational situation they may need. This is not something one person can do, but it is something that we can do together. I alone can fix it.

Mr. Trump, there is a perception that your administration is racist. With many of the African-American voters their belief is that the Republican Party as a whole does not cater to African-American needs. In 2008 and 2012 we had two Republican candidates, John McCain and Mitt Romney, and neither one of them came to Detroit, or any urban area that I can remember to even address the concerns of our community. First, I would like to commend you for coming to our community as a Republican candidate. Second, I need to know, how would you change that perception in our community?

Reverend, I think the term is “alt right.” Right, Bannon? I mean, you made the platform, right? So great, my CEO. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding. [Or the sweet potato pie. Come to Trump Tower Grill and get a slice of the best sweet potato pie you’ve ever had in my restaurant. I love the African Americans! I have a great relationship with the blacks.] Coming into a community is meaningless unless we can offer an alternative to the horrible progressive agenda that has perpetuated a permanent underclass in America. [I mean, just look at your pathetic lives. You live in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs. Let me do for you what I did for Atlantic City. What the hell do you have to lose?

We need to be true to our word—who wrote this crap?!!!—and offer all Americans more opportunities so that each and every one of them can reach their full potential. This means economic policies that will bring millions and millions of jobs back to America and will raise wages for all. This means working hard to provide as many educational options as possible to our parents and children. This means cleaning up drugs This will happen when I build the wall, because you know what those people bring in, right? And you know who’s going to pay for the wall? Go ahead, say it! Feels good, right? Remember that] and making our neighborhoods and communities safer by making sure all the good guys have guns. When everybody has a gun, believe me, it will be a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks. Believe me.

We need to get people off welfare—except for all those Walmart workers. Because America needs opportunity, right? And your people need cheap stuff, what with all the poverty and no-good education and no jobs. Sad!—and back to work. OK, so the majority of people on public assistance are in households headed by someone who works. They can get a third job with all the opportunity they’re going to have. So many opportunities. Because, like I told MSNBC last year, the minimum wage is too high. Bad for the economy—which I’m totally going to fix. Opportunity. So important.

We need to make sure that anyone who qualifies can go into a bank, get a loan and then start a business. Just like me. Qualified at Bank of Dad. Great bank. Fantastic bank. We need to reduce regulations and expand options for people who want to be independent of government. We need to make sure that people can worship how they want and where they want without worrying that some federal agency is going to threaten the religious liberties. Except for the Muslims that are already here; they'll have to register with the federal government so we can track them in our database. And I’ll tell you one thing you’re not going to see–any new ones coming in, right? ISIS, destoyed. Make American safe again! Republicans I alone have better options. We just need to have the courage to present them with conviction.

Mr. Trump, what is your vision for America? And specifically Black America? If you repeal Obamacare what is your plan to provide health care and medicine to those who can’t afford it, yet need it the most?

As president, I must serve all Americans without regard to race, ethnicity or any other qualification. Just ask my African American over here. Neurosurgeon. Brain doctor. Smart guy. Very, very smart. Major merit. And mine. I must approach my task with the utmost wisdom and make sure that all Americans have opportunities to achieve to their potential. Like I said back in ’89, a black guy with a degree has an advantage over a white. Just ask Ben here. If we are to Make America Great Again, we must reduce, rather than highlight, issues of race in this country. I want to make race disappear as a factor in government and governance. I totally made race disappear as a factor in a housing project my dad built. Put it in a drawer. Every individual, regardless of race or ethnicity, must have access to the full array of opportunities in America. My vision for America is that every citizen and legal resident of this nation will be able to stand side by side and be proud of the fact that they live in the greatest nation on earth because I alone have Made America Great Again. Remember that.

As for the Affordable Care Act, I will work to repeal the act and replace it with market-driven solutions that will offer more access to healthcare at more affordable prices. It’s working great in the pharmaceutical industry! Business. So important. Every American should be able to purchase health insurance across state lines, have health savings account that belong to them, have price transparency so they can shop for the best services at the best prices and know that they will not have to compete with those who are clogging the system simply because they are in this country illegally. OK, so maybe those people aren’t allowed to buy health insurance through Obamacare. But they’re still clogging the system. You know that. You know that. Believe me. Remember that.

We want to block grant Medicaid so that states can provide services closer to the people [or not provide them at all. States’ rights—so important]. We want to make sure that every American has great economic opportunity so that they can seek out their own health insurance and still be able to afford it.This approach will serve all Americans and will ensure that more Americans are covered by better insurance and healthcare options. The ones with merit will get the better insurance and options. You can count on it. Merit—so important.

Mr. Trump, I am a registered Democrat, but I am an undecided voter in this election for 2016. It is not only myself but there has been a lot of pastors and African Americans who have not made up their minds concerning who they are going to cast their vote for. The latest polls indicate that you have 1 percent of the African American vote. What can you say to undecided voters such as myself and others in the African American Community that will win our vote on November 8, 2016? And beyond winning, why is the African American vote important to you?

All votes are important to me and my campaign. Your vote, your neighbor’s vote, the vote of every American is critical and I must do all I can to make sure you know that if you vote for me, you are voting for a stronger, more vibrant America. My policies offer you a clear choice. You can continue down the road of progressivism that has created a permanent underclass in this country that, unfortunately, includes far too many people of color. If you want a better America, you must break from the historical hold that Democrats have had on people of color and move to options that allow you to achieve your potential. This is all about opportunity — not sub-standard outcomes and promises of things to come that never materialize. The progressives have worked tirelessly to bring all Americans down to one level rather than allowing as many as possible to rise as high as possible. Education, jobs, religious liberty and protection of civil rights are the promises that I will keep, not just utter to gain favor. If you are interested in a greater America with more opportunity, liberty and prosperity, you must take a chance and walk over to my side. If you want a strong partner in this journey, you will vote for me. I will never let you down. By the way, my support is now up to 8% and climbing. And if you believe all that, I have a wall on the border to sell you.

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