Donald Trump walked a political tightrope Saturday -- promising in heartland Iowa to help farmers across the country by cutting taxes and federal regulations while continuing his stark appeal to potentially disaffected minority voters in U.S. inner cities.
“We are going to end this war on the American farmer,” Trump told the crowd at Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst’s influential “Roast and Ride” rally in Des Moines.
In a roughly 45-minute address in which Trump largely stuck to measured and prepared remarks, the Republican presidential nominee also repeatedly tried to distinguish himself from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and appealed to evangelicals and others to assist him in helping minorities and winning the November election.
“Clinton wants to shut down family farms just like she wants to shut down the mines and the steel workers,” said Trump, warning her plan includes “radical” regulations and raising taxes on family farms, to rates as high as nearly 50 percent.
He again pointed out that Clinton in the mid-1990s said some black youths were “super predators” and returned to his argument in recent weeks that the Democratic nominee’s policies and those of fellow Democrats who for decades have run many U.S. cities have failed their minority residents, particularly African-Americans.
“I’ve spoken a lot in recent days about the deplorable conditions in many of our inner cities,” Trump said. “As a father, as a builder, as an American, it offends my sense of right and wrong to see anyone living in such conditions.
“I am running to offer a better future -- to the citizens of Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, and all across this great land. … Now is the time to put a new agenda into action that expands opportunity, ensures equality and that protects the rights of each and every citizen. … We are also going to end the discrimination that traps parents and kids in failing government schools.”
Trump earlier this week said Clinton was a “bigot” for having policies that hold down minorities.
Clinton responded during an interview Friday on MSNBC by claiming Trump has a “long history of racial discrimination" and that his campaign is "built on prejudice and paranoia."
Trump on Saturday also mentioned the fatal shooting Friday of 32-year-old Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of NBA star Dwayne Wade and a mother of four.
Aldridge was shot and killed while pushing a child in a stroller on Chicago’s South Side, the apparent victim of an attack by two males on another male.
“We send our thoughts and our prayers to the family,” said Trump who was criticized on social media because a tweet earlier in the day on the killing appeared only for political advantage, failing to include condolences.
Trump, who has for days struggled to find the right message on illegal immigration, returned to the matter Saturday, arguing that enforcing immigration law is a “civil rights issue” and that Clinton’s policies will allow amnesty for people living illegally in the United States and increase the risk of Islamic terrorists getting into the country.
“A vote for Trump is a vote to have a nation of laws. A vote for Clinton is a vote for open borders,” said Trump, who is trailing Clinton by 6 percentage points, according to the RealClearPolitics polls average.
Trump, who has promised if elected to deport all of the country’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, also said Saturday that the rights of American citizen are violated every time a black citizen, Hispanic citizen or any citizen loses his or her job to an illegal immigrant.
“Equal protection under the law must include the consistent application of our immigration laws,” said Trump, repeating his vow since the start of his campaign to build a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. “My goal is to provide good jobs, good schools, and safety to every Hispanic community in the country. But we can’t do that if we don’t secure our border.
“On Day One, I am going to begin swiftly removing criminal illegal immigrants from this country -- including removing the hundreds of thousands of criminal illegal immigrants that have been released into U.S. communities under the Obama-Clinton administration. These international gangs and cartels will be a thing of the past. Their reign of terror will be over.”