COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ South Carolina’s only congressional Democrat on Tuesday said Donald Trump isn’t being genuine about soliciting support from Black voters, and he called on his Republican colleagues to denounce what he called “hateful rhetoric” by the GOP nominee.
During a call for the news media organized by the Hillary Clinton campaign, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn said that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should “disavow the kind of hateful rhetoric that we’re hearing” from the Republican nominee.
Clybun said Trump is using the same kind of hate speech employed by a suspect in an online manifesto before police say he gunned down nine Black parishioners in a Charleston church in June 2015. Clyburn’s constituents include families of the victims.
Politics, Clyburn acknowledged, should have a “spirited context.”
“But it does not have to be vengeful.”
Clyburn is the third-highest-ranking House Democrat. Joining him on the call were two other Democratic House members, Xavier Becerra of California and Nita Lowey of New York.
The call came amid Trump’s ongoing, somewhat shaky appeal to Black voters. On Saturday, he drew an online backlash for a tweet he sent in response to the shooting death of NBA star Dwyane Wade’s cousin, who was gunned down near the Chicago school where she had planned to register her children.
“Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” Trump tweeted, later sending a tweet offering his “condolences to Dwyane Wade and his family.”
Pastor Mark Burns, a Black South Carolina preacher and Trump supporter, sent out and then apologized for a tweet showing Clinton in black face, implying Clinton panders to Black voters.
Burns’ initial message, Clyburn said, “went beyond the pale.”
Of his overall pursuit of Black voters, Clyburn said Trump shouldn’t turn down invitations by groups like the NAACP if he’s really serious.
“You don’t go to a 99 percent White audience and talk about us and call that an invitation to us,” Clyburn said. “I have no idea what this man is. I just don’t think there is a core to him.”
In recent weeks, Trump has asked Black voters, who traditionally have voted for Democratic candidates, what they’d have to lose in supporting him. On that score, Clyburn had a simple answer.
“I’ll tell you what African-Americans have to lose: dignity and self-respect,” he said. “No self-respecting African-American would dignify his campaign.”