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Detroit MAGA makeover: Donald Trump, top allies, boat parade set for city

Donald Trump stands a podium
Trump has traditionally rallied supporters in predominantly white regions of Michigan, but his weekend roundtable in Detroit signals an interest in courting Black voters in the state’s largest city.
  • Donald Trump slated to hold ‘community roundtable’ at a Detroit church on Saturday
  • The former president also a headline speaker at a Detroit convention hosted by conservative group Turning Point Action
  • Grassroots organizers planning boat parade to greet Trump at the convention from the Detroit River

Former President Donald Trump is swinging through Detroit Saturday to court Black voters and address a conservative gathering, the latest in a slew of campaign visits reaffirming Michigan as a crucial battleground state.

Trump’s campaign says he intends to “listen to members of the community” at 180 Church in Northwest Detroit around 4 p.m. He also plans to discuss “how Joe Biden has failed the great people of Detroit and the state of Michigan.”

The former president, who is expected to face Biden in a fall rematch,  is also billed as headline speaker at a weekend-long Detroit event by conservative group Turning Point Action dubbed “The People’s Convention.” 

Other announced speakers include Trump family members and MAGA movement stars like former White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon, Donald Trump Jr., Lara Trump, Roger Stone, Mike Lindell, Kari Lake and more. 

Presidential visits

As a battleground state, Michigan residents can expect to see President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump repeatedly throughout the 2024 campaign. Bridge will track their visits, and those of their surrogates, until Election Day. Click on the circles to see who came, when and where.

As he arrives in Detroit, Trump will be greeted by a planned “boat parade,” according to organizers, who intend to float from Lake St. Clair to Hart Plaza, situated next to Huntington Place, where Trump is scheduled to speak at the convention. An agenda for when Trump will speak has not been released. 

A promotional page for the Detroit River boat parade indicates it will include a 74-foot yacht and follow the coast for "on shore viewing."

Meshawn Maddock, former co-chair of the Michigan GOP, is helping organize the boat rally and predicted on social media that it's "gonna be YUUUGGE."

Detroit, Michigan’s largest city and a longtime Democratic stronghold, has received increasing attention from both presidential campaigns. Biden’s campaign has targeted the city with events showcasing his economic and social record for Black residents.

Michigan has been cast as a must-win state for Biden to have a path to re-election in November. The focus comes amid the appearance of softening support among some longtime bases of Democratic support, including a Black voter “apathy” warning by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

Vice President Kamala Harris was in Detroit last Saturday to rally activists after visiting the city for a White house event in May. In late May, Biden spoke at the NAACP Detroit Branch’s Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner.


Prominent Democrats such as Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist have held outreach events in an effort to build enthusiasm. At “BBQs for Biden-Harris” in Detroit, he told supporters Trump is “dangerous for our people.”

“Donald Trump was one vote away from taking away the Affordable Care Act when he was president," Gilchrist said. "He’s going to fight like hell to take it away if he gets back in office, and that’s going to kick 3 million Black people off health insurance around the country.” 


In polling averages, the two candidates are statistically tied. A recent forecast from publication FiveThirtyEight based on polling averages shows the two candidates effectively tied in Michigan, though with a slight edge to Biden, who wins the state in 59 out of 100 simulations performed by the publication’s model. 

This weekend will also be Trump’s first visit to Michigan since he was convicted of 34 felonies for falsifying business records in New York. 


In 2020, Biden won 92% of the Black vote in Michigan, according to exit polls. The Democrat won Michigan by just 154,188 votes in that election, buoyed by a 228,047 margin in Detroit.

Trump won about 5% of the vote in Detroit in 2020, up from 3% in 2016. 

Still, the city's 2020 election became a focal point of Trump's false claims that fraud cost him the election. After the election, he alleged on social media that the city counted “far more votes than people.” In reality, turnout was less than 50%.

Trump’s campaign filed a failed lawsuit attempting to halt absentee ballot counting in Detroit. His allegations about the Detroit vote figured prominently in an ongoing criminal case stemming from his failed efforts to overturn his loss.

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