Republican Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump
Republican Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump continued his African American outreach on Thursday with a tightly scripted visit to Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy charter school.
Trump’s return to Cleveland, came just a week after he took his campaign to a Detroit black church where he awkwardly danced with the congregation.
During his black church outreach Trump received the questions in advance and appeared at the church with scripted answers, but that appearance did not include much rhetoric about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
However, the dozen plus 4th and 5th graders who sat in the school cafeteria to listen to Trump speak following his panel discussion and roundtable were bombarded with attacks against the Democratic nominee and President Obama.
The fact that no black press were selected for the roundtable discussion at a predominantly African American school was the least concern of what was rather a bizarre event.
He got off to a good note thanking principal Deborah Mays for inviting him.
“Deborah Mays who has really done an incredible job,” said Trump.
“Today we are going to discuss one of the most important issues in this campaign. School Choice,” he said.
Then for some inexplicable reason he went in on his opponent.
“But before we do, I want to briefly discuss new revelations about Hillary Clinton’s very famous emails.”
For the next dozen minutes Trump pivoted from one teleprompter to the next referencing the recently released FBI report on Clinton’s emails and then followed that up with more scripted material, blaming the Obama Administration for paying $1.7 billion to Iran.
The setting did not closely resemble one of the many rallies hosted by the candidate throughout his campaign where he boasts about the number of people in the crowd.
As he stood before six standing American flags, the subdued Trump addressed an audience of roughly 60 people, if you subtract his staff members, media and the 14 students; Trump was probably addressing about 25 people.
Many of them already connected to his campaign in some shape or form and others local Republicans along for the ride.
He told the group that the “media is so terribly dishonest.” That “I would have been tougher on terrorism, Bin Laden would have been caught a long time ago before he was ultimately caught, prior to the downing of the World Trade Center.”
By the time Trump got to talking points about his visit to the charter school, to outline his plan for education, most the people in the back rows were either nodding off or sleep, including some of the students.
He criticized the government, accusing it of operating an education monopoly that delivers failed schools to students, especially those in poverty.
“They are protecting a lot of people in a lot of high paying jobs and they are not doing the job like Deborah.”
Trump quipped; “Deborah they’re making a lot more money than you are, but we will have to talk about that later.”
“The Democratic Party has trapped millions African American and Hispanic youth in failing government schools that deny them the opportunity to climb the ladder of American success, it’s time to break-up that monopoly."
While referencing statistics from major metropolitan cities such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, he pitched a non specific plan to transfer money the government is investing into each student to the parent to select the school for their child of preference.
Trump’s visit, while carefully scripted, was clearly out of touch with the designated audience.
It appeared to be more of an opportunity for Trump to deliver his campaign message to the mass media, instead of African Americans, especially since there were more white media than blacks in the room.
The teachers and students of this low performing charter school deserved more, and the black voting universe in this community should demand more from any individual seeking the highest office in the free world.