DETROIT - Saying he was there to "listen to your message," Donald Trump stuck to a prepared script during a service held at Great Faith Ministries Church in Detroit before a predominately African American congregation.
As the service began, Trump could be seen near the front of the church swaying to "What a Mighty God We Serve."
"This has been an amazing day for me," Trump said after taking the stage. He called the African American Christian community "one of God's greatest gifts to America" and said he was attending the religious service in Detroit on Saturday "to listen to your message -- and I hope my presence here today will help your message reach new voices."
The GOP presidential candidate appeared at Great Faith Ministries with former "Apprentice" contestant Omarosa Manigualt and former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, a Detroit native. Trump later paid a quick visit to Carson's childhood home on South Deacon Street in southwest Detroit.
Trump didn't sidestep the question of race in his remarks. He said presently America sidelines "young black men with tremendous potential" and said "our entire country misses out when we are unable to harness the potential and energy of these folks."
Trump confirmed that he taped a one-on-one interview Saturday morning with Bishop Wayne T. Jackson on the pastor's Impact Network, the television network Jackson founded in 2010. Trump called it an "amazing interview" and, to wild cheers from the congregation, said Jackson's interviewing skills were "better than the people who are doing that professionally, I can tell you."
As his remarks ended, church leaders then placed a Jewish prayer shawl upon Trump's shoulders.
Outside, protesters chanted: "What do you have to lose?" ... "Everything."
The chant is a play on an appeal a couple of weeks ago by Trump to black voters when he asked, "What do you have to lose?"
One of the protesters, Rosendo Delgado, 62, of Detroit, who said she is Latino, said Trump "shoots from the hip without analyzing what he is saying."
Les Chambers, 59, of Bloomfield Township, was disappointed that he didn’t get to see Trump. Security kept him and other members of the public about 100 yards away from the front door of the church that Trump entered.
“I wanted to see Trump,” Chambers said, holding a small camera. “They said this was a free event but then they wouldn’t let me in without a ticket.”
Chambers said he supports Trump because he believes Hillary Clinton is corrupt.
“I have to support Trump because I don’t want to see the Clintons back in the White House,” Chambers said.
All around the area, there was a heavy police presence. Detroit police had Grand River Avenue blocked from Cloverlawn on the west to I-96 on the east.
The SUVs that Trump's group arrived in parked out front.
Police and Secret Service agents ordered people off the sidewalk when they attempt to walk near the front of the church.
Across the street, police officers with binoculars were positioned on a rooftop eyeing protesters and other movements.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters the protesters have been peaceful and there have been no arrests.
Here is Facebook Live video showing protests outside the church as Trump arrived:
Detroit Free Press