Reuters CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Reuters) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in an appeal on Wednesday to African-Americans and working-class voters, promised “21st century” banking industry reforms and tax changes to spur job creation and investment in blighted communities.
Delivering an urban policy speech two weeks before the Nov. 8 election, Trump highlighted his plan to ease access to bank credit for young blacks trying to start businesses and create jobs in their communities.
The New York businessman, who trails Democrat Hillary Clinton in national opinion polls and is struggling to appeal to African-Americans and Latinos, also called for broader tax incentives to spur inner-city investment.
The steps, coupled with efforts to reduce U.S. trade deficits and the outsourcing of jobs abroad, Trump said, would “raise wages at home, meaning rent and bills become instantly more affordable” for the poor.
Trump flew to Charlotte, a major commercial hub in the U.S. South, after attending the formal opening in Washington of a Trump International Hotel just blocks from the White House.
Trump’s detour from the campaign trail to plug his business drew criticism from some fellow Republicans, but the former reality TV star said the project, completed “under budget and ahead of schedule,” showed what he could accomplish if elected president.
His Democratic rival, Clinton, said: “Donald Trump is actually paying more attention to his business than to the campaign. That’s his choice, but we’re going to keep working really hard to reach as many voters as possible.”
Speaking to reporters during a flight to New York after campaigning in Florida, Clinton also said the proposed merger of AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. “raises questions and concerns and they should be looked into.”
In Charlotte, Trump provided few details of “21st century Glass-Steagall,” which would build on the 1933 Depression-era law requiring the separation of commercial and investment banking.
Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999 under then-President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband. The 2008 financial crisis prompted an overhaul of banking rules with the passage in 2010 of “Dodd-Frank” Wall Street reforms that many Republicans have criticized.
“Dodd-Frank has been a disaster, making it harder for small businesses to get the credit they need,” Trump said.
Before Trump’s Charlotte speech, much of Wednesday’s media attention focused on Trump’s appearance at his new, 263-room luxury hotel. Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who led 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s unsuccessful campaign, said the hotel stop was the latest inexplicable act from Trump and atypical behavior for someone trying to win the White House.