- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Leading black and Hispanic Democrats on Tuesday urged voters to reject Donald Trump’s attempted outreach to minority communities, slamming the Republican presidential hopeful as a “bigot” who has risen to the top of his party while pushing a hateful, racist platform.

On a conference call organized by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, top congressional Democrats and prominent officials from New York City said Mr. Trump’s recent effort to court African-American voters is an insult.

“It is becoming clear to many that I represent that Donald Trump is really becoming unhinged. He is in panic mode, and so he knows that he does not appeal to communities of color, the black community in particular,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke, New York Democrat and a Clinton backer. “This so-called pivot is a pitiful attempt at trying to draw attention to our plight. He has never expressed an interest in really understanding the dynamics that are before communities of color. … We reject his overtures. Too little, too late.”

Mr. Trump last week told African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democrat in presidential elections, they should instead support his candidacy. He asked black voters, “What the hell do you have to lose,” arguing that Democrats have failed to deliver better schools and jobs for minority communities.

But that pitch, critics say, is laughable.

“He’s not talking to us. He’s talking at us,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield, North Carolina Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “His pitch to black Americans in front of largely white Americans is simply a slap in the face. When he says, ‘What do you have to lose,’ that is an absolute insult. Is that really what he thinks will improve his abysmal approval rating of 1 percent in our community?”

Some polls have shown Mr. Trump with as low as 1 percent support among African-Americans.

The billionaire businessman also is struggling with Hispanics. Mr. Trump reportedly will soon deliver a major speech on immigration, and his top aides in recent days have said that some of the candidate’s more controversial proposals — such as a so-called “deportation force” to round up illegal immigrants — are getting a second look and may be revamped, or dropped entirely.

But Hispanic Democrats say those moves also aren’t enough. New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told reporters Tuesday that Mr. Trump showed his true colors when he attacked U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel earlier this year.

Judge Curiel is presiding over a fraud case involving the now-defunct Trump University, and Mr. Trump said that the judge’s Mexican heritage prevents him from ruling fairly.

“There really is no doubt in my mind that he believes the 34 million Mexican-Americans who live in this country are also incompetent,” Ms. Mark-Viverito said.

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