Donald Trump's campaign is trying to make inroads with African-Americans, as an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that just 2 percent of black voters support the businessman in his run for president.
Prominent surrogates including his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, national spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, former "The Apprentice" contestant Omarosa Manigault, and Pastor Mark Burns campaigned today at historically black church Antioch Road to Glory International Ministries in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The church is now publicly supporting Trump, hosting a town hall today billed as "A Day of Endorsement."
Donald Trump was not in attendance.
Generally, churches cannot formally endorse a candidate without losing their 501(c)(3) tax exemption, but the church declares on its Facebook page that it is not a 501(c)(3) organization. The grand-daughter of the church’s founder, Katrina Rodgers, is supporting Trump, as are some of the members.
Rodgers told ABC affiliate WSOC-TV that she knows the move isn't popular and the church has already been ridiculed for its stance.
"This is what we feel in our hearts of hearts that is right for us to do so we're moving forward on that," Rodgers said.
Manigault serves at the campaign's director of African-American outreach. Before she joined the team last month, the campaign had no formal coalitions outreach and the candidates has eschewed many traditional means of campaigning to voters of color, declining an invitation from the NAACP to appear at their national convention. He also did not speak to at National Urban League, a venue where other former Republican candidates have appeared.
Lynne Patton, a vice president for the Eric Trump Foundation, which raises money for terminally ill children at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, was also in attendance. She told CNN in an interview that Trump would be doing some of his own outreach to the African-American community.
"And you know what Donald Trump will be here, and he'll be reaching out to the black community more and more as the campaign goes on," she said. "He endorses us being here and he trusts his daughter-in-law Lara and I to handle that task."