Does it still count as a ‘Black church’ event if the crowd is mostly white? That’s the question that many people have been dealing with on social media as they respond to images of an event held by former President Donald Trump as he seeks to reach out to Black voters in this year’s election.

Trump campaign’s ‘Black church’ event noticeably white

CBS News reported that the former president held a “Black Americans for Trump” event at a predominantly Black church in Detroit this Saturday. As pictures and video from the event became public, social media noticed a lack of Black people the crowd.

“Trump is definitely going to win the Black vote…by filing a Black church with white folks for his rally,” a social media user posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“‘Black outreach’ is not for Black people,” another person posted, linking a story about the backlash the event has been receiving. “It’s to insulate white voters from accusations of racism.”

The Biden-Harris campaign put out a “statement on Trump’s desperate Black voter ‘outreach’ attempt in front of a noticeably empty and white audience” which read in part that “Trump’s eleventh hour attempt at Black ‘outreach’ isn’t fooling anyone.”

Trump and his Black allies

Detroit reporter Russ McNamara, who posted several pictures from the event, said that the Black/white ratio “was a 50-50 split at best” and said that “of the 8 Black Trump voters I talked to, just one was from Detroit and zero were congregants.”

McNamara clarified in a follow-up tweet that his estimates included the 30 or so Black people who appeared on stage at some point during the event. According to NBC News, Trump appeared alongside prominent Black Republicans such as former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, who Trump confirmed was a potential vice president pick for his campaign. “I noticed your name is very high on the list,” Trump said to Donalds, per NBC News. Donalds was recently criticized for seeming to praise the Jim Crow era during a previous Republican Party event.

Raw Story reported that the event was held at 180 Church, a predominantly Black Evangelical church located on the west side of Detroit. According to the report, Pastor Lorenzo Sewell initially thought the request from the Trump campaign was a prank, but eventually agreed to give Black community members “a voice at the table.” In one video from the event, Trump talks about meeting the church’s “great Pastor Lorenzo Sewell” but then fails to recognize him sitting two seats down from him on the stage.


Despite the fact that this event likely attracted more mockers online than it did Black attendees in the crowd, both campaigns are expected to ramp up their outreach to Black voters as they attempt to win a close election.