Republican Donald Trump made his most direct appeal yet Tuesday for black voters in the presidential race, pushing forward an agenda to restore law and order and revitalize inner-city neighborhoods that he said suffer from years of misguided Democratic policies.
In a speech delivered not far from Milwaukee neighborhoods rocked by anti-police riots, Mr. Trump laid the blame for urban despair and conflict between police and minorities at the feet of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
He stressed that Mrs. Clinton, who has repeatedly sided with Black Lives Matter activists and against the police, was pushing a narrative that actually hurt minority communities.
“The problem in our minority communities is not that there is too much police but that there is not enough police,” he said. “She is against the police, believe me. You know it and I know it and guess what, she knows it.”
Mr. Trump argued that Democratic policies are responsible for the persistent high unemployment, inadequate education and substandard living conditions that blight inner-city neighborhoods.
The speech revived Mr. Trump’s vow to be the “law and order candidate,” which he first declared in a similar speech last month in response to the sniper ambush that killed five Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter demonstration over police-involved shootings of black citizens.
He was scheduled to hold a campaign rally in West Bend but altered plans to deliver the scripted law-and-order speech in response to the rioting in Milwaukee. He wrote the speech with former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a close adviser to Mr. Trump who is traveling with the campaign.
Mr. Trump said that his championing of police and inner-cities dovetailed with his agenda to make better trade deals, secure the border and fight terrorism.
“I will be your fighter. Believe me, I will be your fighter,” said the New York billionaire, noting rising unemployment and food-stamp dependence in minority communities under President Obama.
Mr. Trump said he had a message for every parent worried about what the future holds for their children: “I’m with you, I will fight for you and I will win for you.”
Mr. Trump’s framing the tensions between black communities and police as a law-and-order issue risks alienating black voters, who interpret “law and order” as a racist dog whistle.
However, the pro-police stance puts Mr. Trump on the side of Americans across the country who are shocked by the riots and fearful of terrorism in a world that appears increasingly out of control and dangerous.
Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly sided with the Black Lives Matter movement amid the ongoing conflict. She snubbed the National Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union in the country, by not even seeking their endorsement.