Trump Slams Milwaukee Protests, Appeals to Black Voters With Law and Order Promise

"The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African Americans," he said.

ByABC News
August 16, 2016, 10:29 PM

— -- Donald Trump appealed to African-American voters while addressing the so-called Milwaukee Uprising -- which kicked off Saturday after a police officer fatally shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith, whom officials say was armed and had a criminal record -- during a law and order-themed rally tonight.

But Trump's speech was at odds with his surroundings: The rally took place 40 miles northwest of Milwaukee -- far away from the embattled streets he spoke of -- in West Bend, whose population is only 1 percent African-American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2014 statistics. And while Trump courted African-American voters inside, outside the venue, Confederate flags were being sold by a vendor.

Also, Trump has declined invitations to speak at the NAACP, Urban League and the recent National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention.

"The violence, riots and destruction that have taken place in Milwaukee is an assault on the right of citizens to live in security and to live in peace," said Trump at the rally, held at the Ziegler Building at the Washington County Fair Park & Conference Center in West Bend. "Law and order must be restored. It must be restored for the sake of all but most especially for the sake of those living in the affected communities, of which there are many."

The GOP presidential nominee then directly made his appeal to African-American voters.

"The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-American citizens living in these neighborhoods," said Trump, who's been struggling to attract black voters. "It's their job, it's their homes, it's their schools and communities which will suffer the most as a result. There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct for anyone. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor and will never be accepted in a Trump administration."

Trump -- who used a TelePrompter, despite his previous vocal disdain of its use by other candidates, including Hillary Clinton -- also claimed that the Democratic nominee "is against the police," and is one of many on his foes "peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society."

He continued, it's "a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent shared directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee and many other places within our country. They have fostered the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America and all throughout America."

Trump claimed that his narrative does a disservice to African-Americans, saying, "Every time we rush to judgment with false facts and narratives, whether in Ferguson or in Baltimore and foment further unrest, we do a direct disservice to poor African American residents hurt by the high crime in their community, a big, big unfair problem. During the last 72 hours protesters have raged against the police here in Milwaukee."

Trump also continued to attack Clinton's health. After the Clinton campaign slammed him for attacking her mental ability to govern, Trump recited the phrase again tonight.

"You need tremendous, physical and mental strength and stamina," he said. "Hillary Clinton doesn't have that strength or stamina. Believe me, and you know it and they know it and everybody knows it."

Prior to the rally in West Bend, Trump taped a town hall with Fox News' Sean Hannity at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. It was initially slated to air tonight at 10 p.m. ET, but was bumped to tomorrow night after the town hall ran long.

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