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September, 28, 2016

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Trump calls for racial unity while also embracing 'stop and frisk'

PITTSBURGH -- Lamenting a "lack of spirit" between whites and blacks, Donald Trump encouraged racial unity in the face of "a national crisis" Thursday, even as he called for one of America's largest cities to adopt policing tactics that have been condemned as racial profiling.

The Republican presidential contender, eager to blunt criticism that his campaign inspires racism, confronted racial tensions after another night of violent protests in North Carolina following police shootings of black men.

"The people who will suffer the most as a result of these riots are law-abiding African-American residents who live in these communities where the crime is so rampant," Trump declared at an energy conference in Pittsburgh. He suggested that drugs are "a very, very big factor" in the violent protests.

"This is a national crisis," he continued, without mentioning the black men shot by police in Oklahoma and North Carolina in recent days. He said that "it's the job of the next president of the United States to work with our governors and mayors to address this crisis and save African-American lives."

Both presidential candidates are courting minority voters with Election Day less than seven weeks away.

Trump, in particular, has struggled to balance a message that appeals to his white, working-class base with one that improves his standing with minority voters and educated whites who may worry about racial undertones in his candidacy. Trump was slow to disavow former KKK leader David Duke earlier in the year and has repeatedly promoted tweets by white supremacists during his White House bid.

The Republican nominee admitted for the first time publicly last week that President Barack Obama was born in the United States after spending much of the last five years questioning the authenticity of his birth certificate. And as recently as last week, Trump's eldest son tweeted a meme commonly used by white nationalists.

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Shale Insight Conference, Thursday, Sept. 22. (AP)

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