Democratic minority members of Congress had an answer for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday not long after he pitched his candidacy to black and Hispanic voters, asking, “What the hell do you have to lose?”
The short answer: A lot. And the longer answer?
“We have an awful lot to lose,” said Ohio Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, as she ran down a long list that included “sensibility,” “any sense of patriotism,” and “the respect of the rest of the world.”
Fudge was among the members who spoke Tuesday on a press call organized by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign. They were responding to a speech Trump delivered Monday night in Akron, Ohio, trying to appeal to black and Hispanic voters.
“What the hell do you have to lose?” Trump told a mostly white crowd. “Give me a chance.”
Fudge said Trump’s effort to characterize black communities like Akron, located in her district, as war zones full of shootings and crime was misguided.
“It is nothing like what Donald Trump is talking about or what he described,” she said of Akron.
“No matter what Donald Trump thinks he’s still only going to get 1 percent of the black vote out of the state of Ohio,” she added.
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield said Trump was not talking to African-Americans in his speech, he was talking at them.
“His pitch to black Americans in front of white audiences is just a slap in the face,” the North Carolina Democrat said.
Butterfield called Trump “grossly out of touch” with the black community.
“According to him, we are all poor, we are all uneducated, we are all unemployed,” New York Rep. Gregory W. Meeks said, adding that Trump’s reinforcement of black stereotypes is actually about appealing to his alt-right supporters.
“That’s why he won’t go before an African-American group,” he said.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez said Trump’s effort to energize Hispanic voters is working but not because they support the Republican nominee. Hispanics are excited about voting in November so they can defeat Trump, the Illinois Democrat said.
“Donald Trump is a voter registration machine,” Gutiérrez said. “He’s a citizenship application engine for our community.”
Gutiérrez predicted Hispanics would turn out in record numbers in November, and Meeks said he expects a high numbers among black voters too.
“You’re going to see a record turnout of African Americans coming out just like we did for Barack Obama,” Meeks said.