CHESTER TOWNSHIP, PA. — Donald Trump on Thursday reframed his call for the expanded use of stop-and-frisk to curb what he has frequently described as rampant crime in black communities, saying that he intended for the tactic to be applied specifically in Chicago.
The GOP presidential candidate campaigned in Pennsylvania, addressing an energy summit in Pittsburgh, visiting a famed cheesesteak eatery in Philadelphia and hosting a rally of thousands in blue-collar Chester Township.
Recent polls of Keystone State voters show Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton with a lead of several percentage points.
“I was really referring to Chicago with stop-and-frisk,” Trump said in a morning “Fox and Friends” interview, describing crime in the city, where the 3,100-plus shootings so far this year have already outpaced the number that occurred throughout 2015, as “out of control.”
His support of the policing strategy rolled back in New York City after a federal judge ruled in 2013 that it was unconstitutional and amounted to racial discrimination is at odds with his ramped-up outreach to African-American voters.
“New York was not in a Chicago situation, but it was really in trouble,” Trump said. “They really straightened things out with stop-and-frisk.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on CNN said crime rates in Trump’s hometown have fallen amid the scaling back of stop-and-frisk.
“Donald Trump talks about stop-and-frisk like he knows the facts,” the Democratic mayor said.
Trump used remarks early Thursday to Shale Insight conference on energy in Pittsburgh to also address the unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina, after the police’s shooting death of a black man, Keith L. Scott.
He has sought to balance his vocal support of law enforcement officers with his courtship of black Americans.
“The violence against our citizens and our law enforcement must be brought to a very rapid end,” the billionaire businessman said. “The people who will suffer the most as a result of this violence are law-abiding African-American residents who live in these communities where the crime is so rampant.”
He also charged that drugs are a “very, very big factor” in the Charlotte protests, but did not elaborate.
Trump repeated the sentiment that his administration would lift up black Americans at an evening rally at Chester Township’s Sun Center Studios, where the crowd spilled into an overflow room.
“I am with you and I will fight for you, I promise,” he said in a message directed to Americans of color, though the rally attendees were mostly white.
“The job of a leader is to stand in someone else’s shoes and see things in their perspective,” Trump said.
Outside, Thaddeus Kirkland, mayor of the predominantly black Chester, demonstrated against the real estate mogul’s visit alongside a handful of Clinton backers.
“We don’t support hate, bigotry and racism in Delaware County,” Kirkland said, adding of Trump’s wooing of black voters: “He knows nothing about me and my needs.”
William Rosenberg, Drexel University professor of politics, said the approach may lure more moderate white voters who now view Trump as tolerant than minorities ones.
“He thinks of blacks as being monolithic and he thinks he has a prescription for all blacks,” Rosenberg said. “That concept is probably not particularly realistic.”