Washington: Aiming to make a dent in the support base of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has urged the African-American community, which had steadfastly backed the former in primaries, to join his campaign for a "better future".
"Tonight, I am asking for the vote of every African-American citizen in this country who wants a better future," Trump on Friday said at an election rally in Michigan during which he alleged that Clinton has done "nothing for them".
"No group in America has been more harmed by Hillary Clinton's policies than African-Americans. If Hillary Clinton's goal was to inflict pain on the African-American community, she couldn't have done a better job," Trump said.
Latest polls suggest that Clinton has support of over 90 percent of African-Americans, while Trump has little or negligible support in the large community where unemployment rate is very high and so is poverty.
"Look at how much African-American communities are suffering from democratic control. To those I say the follow, what do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose?" he asked amidst huge applause from the audience.
"Look, what do you have to lose? You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed, what the hell do you have to lose? And at the end of four years, I guarantee you, that I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote, I promise you; because I will produce for the African-Americans," Trump said.
The Clinton campaign was quick to criticise Trump over his alleged past history against the community.
"Donald Trump asks what the African-American community has to lose by voting for him. The answer is everything from a man who questions the citizenship of the first African-American President, courts white supremacists, and has been sued for housing discrimination against communities of colour," said Hillary for America Director of State Campaigns and Political Engagement Marlon Marshall.
"Trump painting the entire community as living in poverty with no jobs continues to show he is completely out of touch with the African American community," Marshall said.
In his speech, Trump alleged that the Democrats have just taken advantage of their votes. "And once the election's over, they go back to their palaces in Washington and, you know what, they do nothing for you, just remember it," he said.
"So you have nothing to lose, one thing we know for sure is that if you keep voting for the same people, you will keep getting the same, exactly, the same result. My administration will go to work for you as no one has ever done before — we will work. We will bring back jobs. We will work," he insisted.
"By contrast, the one thing every item in Hillary Clinton's agenda has in common is that it takes jobs and opportunities away from African-American workers. It takes jobs away from all workers, because your companies are leaving Michigan, your companies are leaving every single state in our union. They are going to Mexico; they're going everywhere but here," Trump noted.
"Hillary Clinton supports open borders, which means many things, but it means people pour in and take your jobs, whether you like it or don't like it, they take your jobs. Her fierce opposition to school choice; you need choice. You have to get your children into good schools. You do that through competition. You need choice," he said.
Trump said America must reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton, who sees communities of colour only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future.
"Hillary Clinton would rather provide a job to a refugee from overseas, than to give that job to unemployed African-American youth in cities like Detroit, who have become refugees in their own country," he said.
"It's time to get our country back to work and that includes an all-out effort to help young African-Americans get the good paying jobs that they deserve," Trump said.