Trump to give diversity a try

For the past week, Donald Trump has been telling rallies — overwhelmingly white audiences — that black voters should get behind his candidacy. His pitch: “What do you have to lose?”

The same question has been asked of Trump: Why has he consistently refused invitations to appear before black colleges, churches and organizations, to the frustration of black Republicans, notes NBC News and The Wall Street Journal (pay site.)

According to The Washington Post, Trump, in the 15th month of his campaign, has finally gotten the message and is planning trips soon to urban areas — with stops at churches, charter schools and small businesses in black and Latino communities.

Almost two-thirds of American adults believe the word “racist” applies to him at least slightly, the report noted. Countering that impression, his campaign apparently believes, is one of his last hopes for a turnaround as it becomes clearer that disaffected white voters won’t be enough.

The (not so) old thinking

Trump’s avoidance of black communities made perfect sense to his former campaign manager and current CNN surrogate, Corey Lewandowski, during a panel discussion on the network Monday night.

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Lewandowski pointed to protester clashes that caused a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago to be canceled in March and said, “That is a black community ... it was not a safe environment.” Lewandowski also described the campus as “predominantly African-American.” The actual figure is 8%.

Some consider Trump is too timid to campaign outside his safe spaces. He keeps visiting red states where GOP victory is already assured.

Nice to — ka-ching! — meet you

More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation, an Associated Press review found.

AP said the finding fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money put those seeking face time with Clinton in the fast lane. GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence charged it was evidence of “pay-to-play” politics.

The Clinton campaign derided the story as relying on “flawed data” and making “outrageous” aspersions about meetings with such people as philanthropist Melinda Gates.

An Obama-nable turn

Trump added a surprising twist as he reconsiders his vow to deport 11 million immigrants here illegally: He named President Barack Obama as a role model of sort.

“What people don’t know is that Obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country. [President George W.] Bush, the same thing. Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws. Well, I’m going to do the same thing” — but “perhaps with a lot more energy.”

On a Fox News show with Sean Hannity airing Tuesday night, he said, “There certainly could be a softening” to accommodate those who have “contributed to society.”

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Not buying it

Democratic elected officials from New York denounced Trump’s recent outreach to black and Latino voters as opportunistic and insulting, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.

“He has offended every group of individuals who have been marginalized in this country,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James in a conference call organized by the Clinton campaign. “For him to turn around and ask for our vote is absolutely insulting and outrageous.”

Madame Secretary is amused

Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show, Clinton laughed off the Trump camp’s rumor-mongering about her health, asking the comedian to “take my pulse” and accepting his challenge to pry the lid off a pickle jar.

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The levity turned cringe-worthy in an exchange about the newest batch of FBI-discovered emails that the State Department will release in the fall. “We’ve already released, I don’t know, 30,000 plus, so what’s a few more?” she quipped.

It was reminiscent of her sarcastic answer a year ago when asked if she had wiped her email server clean: “What? Like with a cloth or something?”

What else is happening

  • Clinton will speak in Nevada Thursday on the ties between Trump’s White House bid and the “alt right” — the movement associated with white nationalism.
  • Alicia Machado, the 1996 Miss Universe who was mocked by Trump for a weight gain after winning the title, has become a U.S. citizen in time to cast a ballot against him and for Clinton. “Miss Piggy can vote,” said the Venezuela native.
  • Maybe Trump should put running mate Pence’s name in larger print on his campaign logo. After Pence got a photo-op haircut in Pennsylvania, the barber asked: “And your name is?”
  • Ukraine rises again on the radar with a report that Clinton hosted a dinner involving the family foundation's donors including businessman Victor Pinchuk, who'd retained a lobbyist to arrange State Department meetings.
  • Clinton foundation president Donna Shalala told NPR that the philanthropy is working to “spin off” or “find partners” for many of its programs, and wants to avoid interrupting “the very good work that’s being done.”
  • Tracking polls show Clinton leading by 12 points (Reuters/Ipsos) or 5 points (NBC News/Survey Monkey). Trump is up 15 points in Utah despite his unpopularity with Mormon voters. A Virginia poll shows Clinton up 16 points. Trump is ahead by only 1 point in Missouri, which usually leans Republican.
  • GOP national chairman Reince Priebus is predicting Trump will be tied with Clinton or leading by Labor Day. That’s just 12 days away.
  • Silicon Valley bigs are due to greet Clinton Wednesday at two fundraisers, one of them hosted by Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, a Trump critic who also helped the campaign of GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan.
  • Photo-ops aside, the Washington Post found it hard to confirm that billionaire Trump contributed to Louisiana flood victims.
  • Tax returns show the Clintons earned $22 million from the kind of education companies she has blasted in the campaign, NBC reports.