Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has visited a black church in Detroit in an attempt to claw some of the minority vote away from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump, 70, told the congregation he “fully understands that the African American community has suffered discrimination”.
According to recent polls, Donald Trump, who is lagging behind Hillary Clinton, has low support among black and Hispanic voters.
Donald Trump was accompanied by Ben Carson, the former Republican presidential hopeful who grew up in Detroit.
The New York businessman arrived at the church to the sound of protests against him taking place outside. Inside, Donald Trump gave a scripted one-on-one interview with the church’s pastor, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, which will be aired by Bishop Jackson’s own Impact TV network next week.
Donald Trump then attended a service at the church before addressing the congregation with a prepared speech, during which he struck an unusually measured tone.
He said: “Nothing is more sad than when we sideline young black men with tremendous potential.”
Donald Trump also said there were “wrongs that need to be made right” for the black community, and praised black churches, adding: “For centuries the African American church has been the conscience of our country.”
The Republican pledged to revive Detroit, which has fallen behind economically since the decline of its once-dominant car industry, promising “new roads and bridges everywhere”.
In his interview with Bishop Jackson, Donald Trump answered a set of pre-approved questions with replies prepared by his campaign staff and the Republican National Committee, the New York Times reported.
The Times published a leaked copy of the 12 questions and answers, which covered police killings, racial tension, and accusations that Donald Trump is racist.
He did not initially intend to address the congregation, the Times said, but a spokesman for Donald Trump’s campaign later said plans had changed to incorporate a five to 10 minute scripted address.
Donald Trump has attempted in recent weeks to appeal to both black and Hispanic voters, claiming he would create jobs in poor cities.
On September 2, he met black religious and community leaders in Philadelphia and days earlier saw black and Latino Republicans in New York.
However, months of hard-line rhetoric on immigration and social issues have done little to endear Donald Trump to minority groups.
He has been criticized by some for addressing black issues in front of largely white audiences, and for making critical statements about black communities.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Democratic Representative Brenda Lawrence are expected to speak against Donald Trump in the city on September 3.