Trump tries courting Black voters at Detroit church with Michigan up for grabs in 2024 election

The presumptive nominee of the Republican Party and former president stopped in Michigan over the weekend, paying a visit to a church in Detroit. 

Donald Trump is targeting Black voters as a potential coalition of support that could carry him the swing state's valuable electoral votes - a voting bloc that's historically backed Democrats. 

The general election is still months away and neither major party has hosted their nominating conventions. But with the stakes high at both ends of the political spectrum, the strategies both Trump and President Joe Biden plan to deploy to court voters are only in effect.

On Saturday, Trump made an appearance at 180 Church, located on Stansbury Avenue. 

"I’m a supporter of our people. I’m not for Trump I’m not for Biden, I’m for the single mother right now that's struggling and doesn't know how to pay her bills," said Lorenzo Sewell, a senior pastor at the church.

He said he didn't expect the response that Trump received while on stage.

"I was surprised as a Black American that there were as many Black people here as I thought. On the stage we had 50 chairs on each side so you had a hundred people sitting there, right? And then those that were in the crowd - a lot of people in the crowd it was mixed," he said.

Not everyone in the faith community shared that sentiment - or even that experience. 

"I think it’s interesting that he went to a Black church that was full of white folks," said Rev. Horace Sheffield III, an activist with the Detroit Association of Black Organizations. "That’s not been talked about much, but there was an insignificant number of African-Americans there."

Photos from the event showed the pews of the church filled mostly with white people, despite it being branded as a meeting with Black voters.

Sewell stressed the bottom line for his church hosting the event was that Black voters don't belong to one political group and who they support shouldn't be taken for granted.

"Do your research, do your studying, and make a decision that benefits you, your family, and your community," he said.

Michigan voted for Trump in 2016 and for Biden in 2020. While Democrats swept the top of the ticket during the 2022 Midterm elections, many see the state in play for either party. For a state as unsettled as Michigan, any new or converted voters can tip the election.

According to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll, Black voters in Michigan still support Biden. However, it's not by as much as in the past. The group made up 12% of all voters in Michigan during the 2020.