Following a week marked by protests against policing in black communities and civil unrest, Donald Trump courted city-dwelling voters of color while speaking to a mostly white crowd in Delaware County Thursday night.
“We will bring security to our African-American communities and to our Latino communities,” said Trump. “I will be your voice.”
The Republican presidential nominee appeared before a boisterous crowd of more than 4,000 people crammed into Sun Center Studios, a cavernous soundstage in Aston, near Chester.
“The main victims of these violent demonstrations [in Charlotte, NC] are law-abiding African-Americans that live in these communities and only want to raise their children in safety,” said Trump.
To make cities safer for people of color, he said the solution is “more police.”
Early in his speech, security officials removed one protester, who later tweeted he was demanding the release of Trump’s tax returns.
Following opening remarks on safety, Trump segued into a wide-ranging speech, promising to create energy jobs and provide public educational options and college people “can pay for,” then reiterating his immigration plan.
“We will build the wall and Mexico will pay for it,” he said. “One-hundred percent.”
Trump spoke for 45 minutes, describing a future where he is able fix broken systems and revitalize industries that have slumped for decades in the United States, all while uniting Americans.
“Imagine what our country could accomplish if we started working as one people, under one God, saluting one American flag,” he said.
Wearing a red t-shirt that said “Latina for Trump,” Melissa Brayman, 36, of Delaware said she immigrated to the United States as a child and wants to change the perception of who supports the Republican.
“As a Hispanic person, everybody assumes you’re against Trump,” she said, adding that she arrived legally. “And the media representation is that Trump is racist.”
As a former translator in Delaware public schools, she said she believes too much taxpayer money is spent providing services to people in the country illegally who do not speak English.
“The immigrant of days past is not the same as the imimgrant nowadays. Today, immigrants are coming in mass numbers and they’re coming to take advantage of the economic system that’s established here,” said Brayman.
Trump has introduced new policy proposals at several recent campaign stops. At a private event in Delaware County last week, he shared a plan for child care and maternity leave, which he touched on again Thursday in a jab at his opponent.
“My opponent, Hilary, likes to say that for decades she’s been fighting for women, that she’s been fighting for children,” he said. “Why then are 70 million women and children in poverty or on the brink of poverty?”
On Wednesday, he voiced support for expanding the controversial police practice of stop-and-frisk at an event in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump spoke about energy at a natural gas industry meeting in Pittsburgh and attended a fundraiser put on by local Republicans at Philadelphia’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, aiming to add $1 million to his campaign coffers.
Down Broad Street, environmental activist group NextGen Climate protested, decrying Trump’s “dirty energy policy.” Trump’s platform proposes closing the Environmental Protection Agency and completing the Keystone XL pipeline, a cross-country conveyance for crude oil that President Barack Obama nixed.
Recent polling puts Trump in a more competitive position than in weeks past, and the candidate has claimed he will only lose Pennsylvania if there is “cheating” at the polls.
Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton made an appeal to millennial voters in Philadelphia earlier in the week, during a speech at Temple University.