Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s trip to Flint was a hit and miss, as citizens booed his arrival and chided the nominee for using the visit to rail against his Democratic opponent.
The real estate tycoon turned presidential nominee visited Flint, Mich. to tour the beleaguered city’s water treatment plant, and topped off his trip with a speaking engagement at Bethel Methodist Church.
Videos show Trump getting jeered by citizens and harangued for refusing to release his tax returns.
Things got worse and awkward thereafter, as the church’s pastor interrupted Trump’s speech to rebuke him for needling Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary failed on the economy, just like she’s failed on foreign policy,” Trump told those in attendance. “Everything she touched didn’t work out, nothing. Now Hillary Clinton…”
“Excuse me, Mr. Trump,” the pastor interrupted. “I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not to make a political speech.”
Trump pivoted quickly, telling the preacher and the crowd: “That’s good, and I’m going to go back onto Flint.”
The state of Michigan decided in 2014 to save money by switching the small Eastern Michigan city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The state applied the wrong regulations and standards for governing drinking water, which ultimately resulted in corroded pipes.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard Tuesday to help distribute bottled water and filters to the 100,000 residents of Flint.
Clinton won the county where Flint is located, but lost overall to Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. Flint’s Mayor, Karen Weaver, meanwhile, has backed Clinton in the election.
Clinton made Flint a central plank during her primary campaign. She spearheaded the Flint WaterWorks initiative in March to put the city’s unemployed youth to work distributing clean water, healthy food and nutritional information and services to families affected by the city’s lead-poisoning crisis.
Trump spent the remaining portion of his talk attempting to tie Flint’s poor economic situation with the city’s poisoned water. He prefaced the connection with an amusing yet tone-deaf joke connecting Flint with Mexico.
“Cars were made in Flint and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico,” he said. “And now, the cars are made in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint. That’s not good!”
The damage to the city’s economy caused by decades of poor leadership is worse now than ever before, Trump said. He told the small crowd a Trump presidency would fix the city’s ailing business woes.
“We can fix this problem. It’s going to take time, it’s amazing the damage that’s been done,” he said. “It will be fixed quickly and effectively, and Flint will come back. Most importantly, we’ll bring jobs back.”
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