Donald Trump planning meeting with black and Latino activists

Donald Trump meets with his Hispanic advisory council at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Aug. 20. (Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
Donald Trump meets with his Hispanic advisory council at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Aug. 20. (Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is planning a Thursday morning meeting with Latino and African-American activists at his Manhattan headquarters in Trump Tower. The activists are fellows from the Queens, N.Y., office of the Republican Leadership Initiative, a program designed to train young, diverse recruits to be campaign field operatives.

Multiple GOP sources confirmed plans for the meeting and characterized it as part of Trump’s outreach efforts in the African-American and Latino communities. While the initiative is not solely focused on training minority activists, a source said the Queens office of the program is in a predominantly African-American and Latino area and has attracted its participants from the community.

An email circulated earlier in the day Tuesday indicated that former U.S. Rep. Bob Turner, current chairman of the Queens County Republican Party, was helping to organize the event, which was initially set to take place in Queens. Turner told Yahoo News the event had subsequently shifted to Trump Tower and described it as part of Trump’s efforts to court Latino voters.

“This is part of his Hispanic outreach, and I think he wanted to explain where he is and why he is a benefit to the Hispanic community,” Turner said.

Trump’s speeches have recently included direct appeals to African-American and Latino voters, two Democratic-leaning groups in which Trump is deeply unpopular, according to polls. The brash real estate developer has sparked several controversies with his provocative comments and policy proposals on race-related topics.

Trump initially planned to give a speech in Denver this week on immigration policy, but it was reportedly canceled. Last weekend, Trump met with members of a Hispanic advisory council at Trump Tower. People who attended the event told BuzzFeed and Univision that Trump had softened one of his hard-line immigration positions, but the Trump campaign dismissed the reports and said Trump hadn’t altered his stance.

The Trump campaign declined to comment about his plans for the meeting on Thursday. One source said the roundtable would include Pierry Benjamin, the New York state director for the Republican Leadership Initiative.