Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted about the slaying of the cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade to pitch for black voters Saturday, attracting criticism for apparently trying to capitalize on the death.
Nykea Aldridge, 32, was pushing a baby stroller near a school where she intended to register her children on Chicago’s south side when she was shot and killed Friday. Police said the mother of four was an innocent bystander and not the intended target in the slaying.
On Saturday morning Trump, whose campaign has recently intensified its push for black and Hispanic voters, referred to the death on Twitter, originally spelling Dwyane wrong, but later deleting the incorrect version and replacing it with a new tweet using the same wording.
“Dwyane Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago,” Trump wrote Saturday. “Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”
Dwyane Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2016
The tweet was quick to draw fire, including some who criticized his record with African American voters, accusing him of trying to appeal to them too late, and others unhappy with him trying to use a death for campaign points.
Not even a thought and a prayer this time?
— Sahil Lavingia (@shl) August 27, 2016
Still courting "the black" vote Donny?You will need longer arms , bigger hands . Won't happen pic.twitter.com/8Y08Jhszd1
— Jake from state farm (@my2bits4u) August 27, 2016
You are truly a POS https://t.co/cyTwxgxwDh
— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) August 27, 2016
The response to the tweet was also reminiscent of a backlash following Trump congratulating himself on having foreseen the dangers of radical Islam following a mass shooting at the Pulse gay club in Orlando in June.
Glad you're not making this about you. Whew!
— Trump Troll (@flamethrower_30) August 27, 2016
There's nothing more horrifying than a presidential candidate patting himself on the back after someone is killed. https://t.co/TrrmEl0zpw
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) August 27, 2016
Trump later followed up with a second tweet sending the family his condolences.
“My condolences to Dwyane Wade and his family, on the loss of Nykea Aldridge. They are in my thoughts and prayers,” he wrote.
Wade, who won several NBA championships with the Miami Heat but signed in June to play for the Bulls in his native Chicago, did not immediately respond to Trump’s tweets.
However, he took to Twitter himself to call for an end to violence.
“My cousin was killed today in Chicago. Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal. #EnoughIsEnough,” he tweeted Friday.
The city of Chicago is hurting. We need more help& more hands on deck. Not for me and my family but for the future of our world. The YOUTH!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) August 27, 2016
Wade also tweeted Saturday morning: “The city of Chicago is hurting. We need more help& more hands on deck. Not for me and my family but for the future of our world. The YOUTH!” adding in a following tweet, “These young kids are screaming for help!!! #EnoughIsEnough.”
Speaking Saturday in Des Moines following Senator Joni Ernst’s annual Roast and Ride event, Trump continued to talk about Aldridge’s death.
The death “breaks our hearts. This shouldn’t happen in America,” he said. “We cannot, as a society, tolerate this level of violence and suffering in our own cities.”
He also attacked Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who has a wide margin over Trump among black and Hispanic voters in recent polls, for referring to black youth as “super predators,” releasing a video of the comment online.
The video also shows Clinton’s former Democratic rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, denouncing the phrase as “a racist term.” Clinton has since apologized.
Chicago has been plagued by gun violence for years, especially in a few South and West Side neighborhoods. This July alone, there were 65 homicides — the most that month since 2006.
Police said Saturday afternoon that two “people of interest” were being questioned by detectives in the death of Aldridge but no one has been charged in the shooting. Authorities are investigating whether the encounter between the men was a robbery, possibly involving a driver from a ridesharing company, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Wade’s charitable organization, Wade’s World Foundation, does community outreach in the Chicago area. He and his mother, pastor Jolinda Wade, participated Thursday via satellite in a town hall meeting in Chicago on gun violence hosted by ESPN.