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NY Dems dismiss Donald Trump’s appeals to voters of color

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito speaks

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito speaks on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan for a news conference on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Credit: Charles Eckert

Democratic elected officials from New York denounced Donald Trump’s outreach to black and Latino voters yesterday as opportunistic and insulting, saying in a call organized by Hillary Clinton’s campaign that his policy proposals have set an exclusionary tone that cannot be reversed.

“We reject his overtures — too little, too late,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn), noting that the Republican presidential nominee has made his appeals to voters of color before large audiences of predominantly white supporters.

Trump has recently increasingly called on African-Americans and Hispanics to support his bid for the White House.

“Give me a chance. I’ll straighten it out,” he said at a rally Monday in Akron, Ohio, saying some people of color live in poverty and that crime-stricken inner city neighborhoods that are less safe than “war zones” overseas. “What do you have to lose?”

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-East Harlem) quoted GOP strategist Ana Navarro in saying she has her “dignity” to lose. Mark-Viverito called Trump a “menace and a danger” and said his immigration policies — which include building a wall between Mexico and the southern U.S. border — point to a “record of demonizing Latinos in particular.”

An NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll this week showed 8 percent of black voters back Trump, compared with 87 percent who support Clinton, the Democratic nominee. Trump has 22 percent of the Hispanic vote and Clinton 73 percent, the poll showed.

Trump’s campaign responded with a statement from surrogate Mark Burns, a South Carolina pastor and televangelist.

“We are, as a people, tired of being used by the Democratic Party,” Burns said. “Black Lives don’t matter to Hillary Clinton, Black Voting Power matters to Hillary Clinton.”

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) said he believes Trump is actually trying to appeal to the “racists of the world” when he speaks to stereotypes of black Americans as poor, under-educated and under-employed.

“He has offended every group of individuals who have been marginalized in this country,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James (D-Brooklyn). “For him to turn around and ask for our vote is absolutely insulting and outrageous.”

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