Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that the shooting death of National Basketball Association star Dwyane Wade’s cousin in Chicago is an example of why African-Americans should vote for him in November.
The linkage between the death of Nykea Aldridge, Wade’s cousin, and Trump’s effort to woo African-American voters triggered swift outrage online from basketball fans, celebrities, and others.
It didn’t help that Trump misspelled Wade’s first name in his initial tweet, stating "Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!"
After a cascade of critical tweets, Trump posted another message, saying "My condolences to Dwyane Wade and his family, on the loss of Nykea Aldridge. They are in my thoughts and prayers."
Wade didn’t respond to Trump’s tweets Saturday, but others did. Actor Don Cheadle responded with a tweet that described Trump in scatological terms. Singer Michelle Williams simply tweeted that Trump’s initial message was "An absolute disgrace".
Aldridge, a 32-year-old mother of four, was pushing a stroller in Chicago’s Parkway Gardens section Friday afternoon as two men exchanged gunfire. She was struck in the arm and the head by stray bullets and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.
Wade is a 34-year-old shooting guard, 12-time NBA All-Star, and two-time Olympian who recently left the Miami Heat to sign with his home town Chicago Bulls.
Trump’s tweet appeared to be his latest effort to convince African-American voters to choose him over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, highlighted by a meeting with African-American and Hispanic Republican leaders at New York’s Trump Tower last week.
In recent speeches, Trump has called Clinton a bigot and argued that African-American life hasn’t improved over the decades from largely throwing their support to Democratic candidates.
"What do you have to lose by trying something new, like Trump?" he at a rally in Virginia last Saturday. "You’re living in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?"