Donald Trump trips over African American museum's name, hails black 'contributions'

US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and the Bonner family at the dedication and grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and the Bonner family at the dedication and grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.PHOTO: REUTERS

ROANOKE, UNITED STATES (AFP) - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who is seeking to shore up support among black voters, has stumbled over the name of the new Washington museum on African American history.

The new museum is a "really beautiful place", Mr Trump told thousands of supporters in Roanoke, Virginia, on Saturday. He called it the "Smithsonian national museum of American history, African American art".

In fact, the long-awaited institution, which opened on Saturday (Sept 24) amid fresh racial strife in the country, is called the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Mr Trump, who has been accused of racism toward several minority groups, hailed African Americans' "incredible contributions" to the United States.

"African Americans have given so much to our nation, and sacrificed so much for this nation."

While noting that some African Americans have been very successful, he acknowledged that "too many African Americans have been left behind and trapped in poverty", he said.

He blamed President Barack Obama's Democrats for black travails in the US. Mr Obama is the nation's first African American leader.

Mr Obama earlier inaugurated the striking 37,000-sq-m bronze-clad museum before thousands of spectators gathered in the US capital to witness the historic opening.

African American voters largely support Mr Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

"I will fight to make sure every single African American in this country is fully included in the American dream," Mr Trump said.

He recently visited a black church in Detroit, Michigan, promising more jobs.

On Thursday, he suggested that drugs were a "very, very big factor" in sometimes violent protests in Charlotte, North Carolina after a police officer shot to death an African American man.