This is real life, and Donald Trump is spending Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio for his latest attempt at black outreach. This morning, Don King gave him a completely bonkers introduction, and he’ll finish the day at a town hall meeting, which will be held at a historically black church and hosted by Sean Hannity of Fox News.
In the above video, Trump tackled a hot button issue in an un-Trumplike way, especially considering his muddled tone on the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile this summer. After officers shot those two unarmed black men, Trump spoke out to call the killings “horrible to witness,” but he also labelled the Black Lives Matter movement as “very divisive, and I think they’re hurting themselves.” He added, “A lot of people agree with that. A lot of people feel that it is inherently racist. Because all lives matter.”
Yet Trump has changed his tone — or at least left some stuff out — while speaking in Cleveland. When asked about the fatal shootings of black men by police in Charlotte and Tulsa, Trump chose to say some words about the police actions surrounding Terence Crutcher’s death:
“I watched the shooting, in part, in Tulsa, and that man was hands up. That man went to the car, hands up, put his hands on the car … To me, it looked like he did everything you’re supposed to do. The young officer — I don’t know what she was thinking. But I’m very, very troubled by that.”
Trump continued to wonder what could have happened in Tulsa. “Did she get scared? Was she choking? What happened?” he wondered. “People that do that. Maybe they can’t be doing what they’re doing.” The Republican nominee’s almost thoughtful tone is certainly a strategic move by his new team, headed up by Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway. But his newfound attitude rings false because — only a few weeks ago — Trump phoned Bill O’Reilly during the RNC and alluded to “bad stuff” concerning Black Lives Matter, which he wanted to have investigated by the FBI. Now, he’s acting like a whole different major party nominee.
As the Hill notes, Trump (who was recently endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police) generally hasn’t criticized police actions in the wake of several unarmed black men who were killed. Until now, that is.