Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel hosted a roundtable discussion with African-American community leaders in Detroit on Monday.
McDaniel opened with a swift condemnation of white supremacy after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday.
“As chairman of the Republican party, I want to be perfectly clear,” McDaniel said. “That white supremacy, Neo-Nazi, KKK, and hate speech and bigotry is not welcome, and does not have a home in the Republican Party.”
The roundtable discussion lasted roughly 90 minutes and was not open to reporters.
Tyrell Bundy is an African-American entrepreneur in Detroit and a Republican supporter. Mlive reports he was an alternate delegate supporting Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Bundy says there’s room for Republicans to gain support in communities of color if the party addresses important issues in places like Detroit.
“A lot of African Americans are actually conservative but they just don’t know it,” Bundy said. “When you look at some of their beliefs as far as smaller government, and individual liberties and rights and things of that sort; protection of property, absolutely.”
McDaniel says the Republican Party’s office in Detroit opened four years ago, and the effort to build support in Detroit isn’t something new. She says the party is focusing on building support in communities it “hasn’t been in.”
Wayne Bradley is the state director of African American engagement for the Michigan Republican Party. He says since the party opened its office in Detroit, it's hosted numerous events focused on issues affecting people in the community. "It’s not just political," he said.
“We’ve been here through this whole rebirth of this neighborhood,” Bradley said. "We just want to continue that and give our community other options, and use that leverage to make both parties work for us.”
McDaniel and Bradley outlined education, criminal justice reform and jobs and the economy as potential topics for conversation. McDaniel says the roundtable had been planned well before the weekend’s events in Charlottesville.
Michigan Republican Party Chair and University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser was also in attendance. After the event, he didn’t offer much insight into what was discussed.
“We talked about the problems of the people here locally in this community,” Weiser said. “It was a private conversation with them. They’re going to figure out which are the most important priorities. We’re going to work with them in order to find out what those priorities are and then help support them in those.”