Donald Trump is notorious for going off-script and making comments that usually end with him saying something extremely offensive or flat-out racist.
Perhaps that explains why his handlers appear to have prepared word-for-word scripted responses for his interview at Great Faith Ministries International, a black church in Detroit.
The New York Times obtained an eight-page document that shows 12 questions, reportedly submitted in advance, that Bishop Wayne T. Jackson is expected to ask Trump during their planned interview this weekend. Fusion also obtained a copy of these questions and the responses Trump is presumably being coached to give in return.
Here are the questions and answers from the document in full:
1. Mr. Trump I want to thank you for this interview with the Impact Television Network my first question is: Are you a Christian and do you believe that the bible is an inspired word of God?
Yes and yes. My mother was such a strong influence on me early on. I still carry and cherish the Bible she gave me. As I went through my life, things got busy with business but my family kept me grounded to the Truth and the Word of God. My children mean the world to me, and seeing them grow into productive adults brought me back to my faith. I treasure my relationship with my family and through them, I have a strong faith enriched by an ever-wonderful God.
2. Mr. Trump there is racial divide in our country and it is evident that the tension is boiling over. Case and point Reverend Pinckney in South Carolina was gunned down when a white young man came into their Bible Study and slaughtered the Reverend and eight other individuals because he wanted to start a race war. What would your administration do to bring down the racial tension that is in our Country? In the Bible Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand.
Our best hope for erasing racial tensions in America is to work toward a color-blind society. In business, we hire, retain and award based on merit. In society, however, we have divisions that can only be eliminated if we have equal opportunity and then equal access to programs and institutions that will lift all people in the country. We have to reform our tax system so that we can spur economic growth for the long haul. We have to have stronger enforcement of immigration laws. We have to renegotiate our trade deals so that we can bring advantage back to the American workforce. But perhaps most important is that we must provide equal opportunity for a quality education for all Americans. The higher the educational attainment, the greater the likelihood one can climb the economic ladder. We must bring school choice programs to our cities and we must get rid of Common Core. We must make sure that access, affordability and accountability are brought into our higher education system. Without a focus on educational outcomes for every American, we will perpetuate the permanent underclass that progressive policies have sustained. Republicans like me need to have the courage to speak the truth about where we are and what has to be done. We have to have the courage to go into communities and work with everyone there to make sure that our schools are good and that our children have access to the whatever educational situation they may need. This is not something one person can do, but it is something that we can do together.
3. Mr. Trump every law abiding African American believes in and supports our law enforcement agencies. If there is a problem in our community, the police are the first ones that we call. In Wisconsin on August 16, 2016 you stated that there would be law and order for everyone. We’ve seen many cities in turmoil this year over police shootings of un-armed black men. Case and point we have Philando Castile who was reaching for his identification and in turn was shot and killed by an officer, you even made the statement that something didn’t look right in that situation. We then have Charles Kinsey, the caregiver for the autistic man who was shot by an officer while both his hands and feet were raised, and another example is Walter Scott the man who was shot in the back while running away. These are great concerns in our community. What will you do to reform the policing system, to protect both cops and citizens? What is your take on black lives matter?
Policing is, for the most part, a local issue and must be dealt with at the local level. We have too many people asking that we move to a nationalized police force, which is not appropriate for America. What I can do as President is make sure that we provide the resources necessary to state and local authorities to have the best training and equipment possible. My Attorney General will reach out to the state and local law enforcement agencies to make sure that we, from a national perspective, provide as much support to these agencies as possible. The higher the quality of our law enforcement officers the lower the chances of horrible outcomes in our communities. The real burden here must rest squarely on the shoulders of those leaders in each and every community around the country. Only through building trust can we make sure that each community is as safe as possible.
4. Mr. Trump I have a 3-year-old grandson who is afraid of the police. What kind of Justice Department would you have to encourage and train the good officers and remove the ones who are not only taking innocent black lives but the lives of innocent people just because they wear a badge?
Again, you are asking the President to move toward nationalizing the police. This should not be pursued by any chief executive of the country. What I should do as President is to make sure that state and local authorities have as much support as can be mustered by the federal government. As President, I will work tirelessly to make the life of every American safer and more prosperous. If we work together to make our communities stronger and more resilient, we will be able to lift all Americans to better lives.
5. Mr. Trump there is a perception that your administration is racist. With many of the African American voters their belief is that the Republican Party as a whole does not cater to African American needs. In 2008 and 2012 we had two Republican Candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney and neither one of them came to Detroit, or any urban area that I can remember to even address the concerns of our community. First I would like to commend you for coming to our community as a Republican Candidate. Second I need to know how would you change that perception in our community?
The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding. Coming into a community is meaningless unless we can offer an alternative to the horrible progressive agenda that has perpetuated a permanent underclass in America. We need to be true to our word and offer all Americans more opportunities so that each and every one of them can reach their full potential. This means economic policies that will bring jobs back to America and will raise wages for all. This means working hard to provide as many educational options as possible to our parents and children. This means cleaning up drugs and making our neighborhoods and communities safer. We need to get people off welfare and back to work. We need to make sure that anyone who qualifies can go into a bank, get a loan and then start a business. We need to reduce regulations and expand options for people who want to be independent of government. We need to make sure that people can worship how they want and where they want without worrying that some federal agency is going to threaten the religious liberties. Republicans have better options. We just need to have the courage to present them with conviction.
6. Mr. Trump as a Pastor for 30 years in our community I have seen single mothers trying to make it off of minimum wage salaries. I have seen African American men who are trying to work and do what is right but because of their having a record with a felony on it they are unable to find employment. The gap is now at its biggest ever, with a recent report saying it would take 228 years for African Americans to achieve the average wealth of white families. “Report by Corporation for Enterprise Development”. What would you do to help level the playing field financially for African-Americans? How will you use your business acumen to help create more quality jobs in the inner cities? And what is your view on raising the average minimum wage?
Let’s deal with the minimum wage first. This should be a state issue where the states can set an appropriate minimum wage based on state and local conditions. More than half the states already have minimum wages above the federal mandate. Should there be an increase in the federally mandated minimum wage? Yes, there probably should be some adjustment. I will work with Congress to find the best possible solution to this complex issue. As for improving the economic lot of African Americans, we again must take the long-term view. We must get tax reform, trade reform and immigration reform. We must make sure that we create educational opportunities for everyone. We must create enterprise zones in targeted communities and we must make our neighborhoods and communities as safe as possible. Opportunities that allow every single person to reach his or her highest potential is the long term solution for every American.
7. Mr. Trump the African American Church has always been the cornerstone of their community. In my opinion the black Pastors have a pulse on the community that they serve. African-Americans do not view your campaign as one of diversity, if you’re elected President, what will you do to ensure that you have a diverse cabinet and advisers that can speak to the real needs of the African American community? Would you consider having a group of African American Pastors around the country on a board to meet with to address some of our community concerns?
My appointments to my administration will, hopefully, be based on merit and what people are willing to do for their country. The motivation to serve in my administration must be based on serving the nation and not in fluffing up a resume. I will certainly have a more diverse cabinet than Mrs. Clinton will have. I foresee having several advisory councils to address issues in our society that have not been addressed in the past. Having pastors like you advising me on relevant issues would be a great asset to my administration.
8. Mr. Trump in 1994 former President Bill Clinton passed the “Crime Bill” which included the “three strikes" provision. Would you consider adjusting the "3 strike rule" which has led to the mass incarceration of African-Americans?
As President, I will ensure that my administration creates a commission to examine criminal justice reform in America today. This includes not only review of the “three strike” provision but also in finding ways to deal with mental health issues that impact adversely our criminal justice system.
9. Mr. Trump what is your vision for America? And specifically Black America? If you repeal Obama care what is your plan to provide health care and medicine to those who can’t afford it, yet need it the most?
As President, I must serve all Americans without regard to race, ethnicity or any other qualification. I must approach my task with the utmost wisdom and make sure that all Americans have opportunities to achieve to their potential. If we are to Make America Great Again, we must reduce, rather than highlight, issues of race in this country. I want to make race disappear as a factor in government and governance. Every individual, regardless of race or ethnicity, must have access to the full array of opportunities in America. My vision for America is that every citizen and legal resident of this nation will be able to stand side by side and be proud of the fact that they live in the greatest nation on earth. As for the Affordable Care Act, I will work to repeal the act and replace it with market driven solutions that will offer more access to healthcare at more affordable prices. Every American should be able to purchase health insurance across state lines, have health savings account that belong to them, have price transparency so they can shop for the best services at the best prices and know that they will not have to compete with those who are clogging the system simply because they are in this country illegally. We want to block grant Medicaid so that states can provide services closer to the people. We want to make sure that every American has great economic opportunity so that they can seek out their own health insurance and still be able to afford it. This approach will serve all Americans and will ensure that more Americans are covered by better insurance and healthcare options.
10. Mr. Trump overall across all states in the nation, state and local spending on prisons and jails has increased at triple the rate of funding for public education for preschool through 12th grade. “Reported by Detroit Free Press- Schools vs. Prisons” If elected President what will you do to level the educational playing field in inner city schools? And how will you ensure that there is an increased investment in more schools and education vs. the prison system?
This is a difficult question because of its complexity. We must increase educational opportunities by making sure that parents and students have as many choices as possible in finding school options that serve them best. In many of the states where minority students are most disadvantaged, strong teacher unions keep parents from having the choice options they should. States should be encouraged to offer as many options as possible. Whatever the means and mechanisms available, we should provide our parents the chance to get their kids the best possible educational outcomes. As for the prison issue, you are correct. We have had to invest in prisons because we have broken criminal justice system. We do not spend enough time or money on treating the severely mentally ill. Today, our jails and prisons are really holding hospitals for far too many people who suffer from severe mental illness. This is one of the great tragedies in America and it hits the African American community very heavily. We need to work to reform our education system to provide choices and we need to reform our criminal justice system by putting the proper focus on mental health reform.
11. Mr. Trump many Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been closing down due to lack of funding. How do you plan to keep these schools open and thriving?
The numbers have been dwindling and much of this has to do with a downturn in the economy. If we have a more vibrant economy, there will be more ability to support these incredibly important institutions. We must make sure that we keep the incentives for people to invest in higher education through gift-giving and to make sure that the student populations being served have access to grants and other funding that does not cripple their futures but ensures that they have the opportunity to succeed in our society. Working with governing boards, faculty, staffs, students and communities to keep these institutions open is the best solution.
12. Mr. Trump I am a registered Democrat but I am an undecided voter in this election for 2016. It is not only myself but there has been a lot of Pastors and African Americans who have not made up their minds concerning who they are going to cast their vote for. The latest polls indicate that you have 1 percent of the African American vote. What can you say to undecided voters such as myself and others in the African American Community that will win our vote on November 8, 2016? And beyond winning, why is the African American vote important to you?
All votes are important to me and my campaign. Your vote, your neighbor’s vote, the vote of every American is critical and I must do all I can to make sure you know that if you vote for me, you are voting for a stronger, more vibrant America. My policies offer you a clear choice. You can continue down the road of progressivism that has created a permanent underclass in this country that, unfortunately, includes far too many people of color. If you want a better America, you must break from the historical hold that Democrats have had on people of color and move to options that allow you to achieve your potential. This is all about opportunity—not sub-standard outcomes and promises of things to come that never materialize. The progressives have worked tirelessly to bring all Americans down to one level rather than allowing as many as possible to rise as high as possible. Education, jobs, religious liberty and protection of civil rights are the promises that I will keep, not just utter to gain favor. If you are interested in a greater America with more opportunity, liberty and prosperity, you must take a chance and walk over to my side. If you want a strong partner in this journey, you will vote for me. I will never let you down. By the way, my support is now up to 8% and climbing.
Terrell Jermaine Starr is National Political Correspondent for Fusion. You can follow him on Twitter @Russian_Starr.