In an attempt to reach out to black voters in the US, Donald Trump asked them, "What the hell do you have to lose?" by electing him as president. The Republican Party nominee's appeal to the African-American community was made to an overwhelmingly white audience in Michigan on Friday (19 August) evening.
Trump argued that Democrats have taken black voters for granted and vowed to "produce for the African-Americans". He claimed that Hillary Clinton, his rival in the race for the White House, "would rather provide a job to a refugee" and said unemployed black youth had "become refugees in their own country".
"You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose [by voting for Trump]?" the Republican nominee asked the crowd in Lansing, a predominantly white suburb of Michigan.
Later, in a bold prediction, Trump said: "At the end of four years, I guarantee I will get over 95% of the African-American vote."
The declaration appears to be highly unlikely after an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll put Clinton streaks ahead of Trump among the African-American community at 91% to Trump's 1%. The Democratic nominee also enjoys a significant advantage over Trump when it comes to women, all non-white voters, young voters and white voters with a university degree.
Trump's brash assertions came just a day after he seemingly expressed "regret" for saying "the wrong thing". The New York businessman added: "But one thing I can promise you is this: I will always tell the truth."
Responding to Trump's remarks, Clinton posted on Twitter: "This is so ignorant it's staggering."
Marlon Marshall, a senior member of Clinton's campaign, said in a statement: "Donald Trump asks what the African-American community has to lose by voting for him. The answer is everything from a man who questions the citizenship of the first African-American President, courts white supremacists, and has been sued for housing discrimination against communities of colour."
He added: "Trump painting the entire community as living in poverty with no jobs continues to show he is completely out of touch with the African-American community."