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Donald Trump’s mixed messages for African-American voters

Pastors and attendees pray over Donald Trump at

Pastors and attendees pray over Donald Trump at the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Credit: AFP/Getty Images / Mandel Ngan

Trump on a tightrope

Donald Trump calls himself “Mr. Law and Order.” He also depicts himself as the best hope of black America. That made for an awkward day trying to please those who back him and those whose support he wants.

Trump told a black church that he was “very, very troubled” by the Oklahoma shooting of Terence Crutcher because the unarmed black man seemed on video to be complying with police. Speculating on why the Tulsa officer shot him, Trump said, “Did she get scared? Was she choking?”

The Fraternal Order of Police, which has endorsed Trump, chided him, saying he must be mindful of cops’ “due process rights.”

At another event, Trump called for expanding “stop-and-frisk” policing in black communities. “We did it in New York. It worked incredibly well,” Trump said. Except that legal action and community opposition led to a drastic rollback of the practice in New York — and crime has stayed low. Read Newsday’s Emily Ngo on Trump’s day.

And in further tensions....

Another bump on Trump's racial road: Wheeler-dealer boxing promoter Don King -- who was pardoned in 1983 by Ohio's Republican governor on a manslaughter conviction -- delivered a strange, vulgarity-peppered riff boosting Trump that referred repeatedly to African-Americans as Negroes.

In Ohio, a Trump county campaign chairwoman declared according to The Guardian: "“If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault. You’ve had every opportunity, it was given to you."

Clinton reacted considerably faster than Trump to the Tulsa case, meanwhile, by calling it "unbearable" to see and saying it should be "intolerable." 

Regardless of the rhetoric, the mayhem in Charlotte -- scene of a subsequent controversial police shooting this week by a black officer -- escalated into a state of emergency.

And this included the further  horror of a presumed protester shot in the head by a black male civilian -- for reasons yet to be discerned. A CNN reporter was knocked to the ground in a thoroughly unprovoked attack by a so-described protester in another incident, caught on camera.

Can you handle the truth?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe. Sometimes it’s too easy. That’s why there are fact-checkers. The political-lie detectives will be online in force for next Monday night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University. See The 1600 the next morning for what they uncover.

Here’s a sample from The Washington Post’s fact-checking team, which rates falsehoods on a scale of one to four Pinocchios:

Clinton, on President Barack Obama’s record: “We now have 15 million new jobs that have been created in the last 7 1⁄2 years.” But she’s off by 5 million because she’s counting jobs that were lost, then recovered. Three Pinocchios.

Trump, on unemployment: “Right now, 92 million Americans are on the sideline outside of the workforce, and they’re not a part of our economy.” But the vast majority of those are retirees, students, stay-at-home parents who really, really don’t want a job. Four Pinocchios.

Hofstra is ready

You can tell that there’s something going on at Hofstra University’s campus. The tents are up. The stages are built. Thousands of feet of Ethernet cable have been laid.

And that’s not all, reports Newsday’s Candice Ferrette — an inflatable White House bouncy castle will arrive Sunday.

Among those most anticipating Monday’s debate are the 400 trained student volunteers performing about 40 different types of duties.

The take-away: Bark, bite, bile

The potential for a show of foulness and abuse in the Hofstra debate is sky-high, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Trump gained so much notice for his catty remarks in the GOP primary debates that suspense now focuses on how Clinton — relatively bland in style — responds in a one-on-one setting.

Polls: Clear as fog

The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll puts Clinton up 6 points in a four-way race and 7 points in a head-to-head matchup with Trump. That suggests she’s getting past her pneumonia wobble of last week. Another survey finds her up 9 points in New Hampshire.

But Fox News polls of battleground states have Trump up by 5 points in both Ohio and North Carolina, and 3 points in Nevada.

What else is happening

  • Some 10,000 demonstrators are expected to converge on Hofstra on debate night, and Nassau County officials estimate security will cost up to $2 million, reports Newsday’s Nicole Fuller.
  • There will be road closings near Hofstra and operators of Nassau County’s bus service are warning of “extreme” service delays. Newsday’s Scott Eidler has the details.
  • Remember the 2008 and 2012 presidential debates at Hofstra? Here’s a refresher from Newsday’s Laura Blasey and Rachel Uda.
  • Clinton, seeking to broaden her base of support while on a visit to Orlando, said she would work to make the American economy more “inclusive,” especially for Americans with disabilities, reports Newsday’s Yancey Roy.
  • High-income voters favor Clinton after decades of supporting Republican presidential candidates, according to Bloomberg News.
  • Senate Republicans have surrendered with amazing speed on the latest so-called "free trade" pact, formerly a top priority for them, as Politico reports.
  • Trump wouldn’t take questions when he announced Friday he no longer believed President Barack Obama was born outside the U.S. An Ohio TV station finally got to ask what changed. His answer: “Well, I just wanted to get on with, you know, we wanted to get on with the campaign.”
  • Adam Walinsky, who was a speechwriter for the late Robert F. Kennedy, writes in Politico that he’s voting for Trump because “today’s Democrats have become the Party of War.” He calls Trump “crude, often vulgar,” but “a man of singular political courage.”


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