Decision 2020

Pa. Professor, Philly Pastor Question President Trump on Health Care and Race

A Kutztown University assistant professor and a Philadelphia pastor were among the undecided voters who asked President Trump questions during his town hall event at the National Constitution Center. They both spoke with NBC10's Lauren Mayk.

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Ellesia Blaque says she went into a town hall with President Trump in Philadelphia on Tuesday deciding not between candidates, but on whether she would vote at all this year.

“I’m just so angry about all the things that are happening in America,” Blaque, a Kutztown University assistant professor, said.

Blaque was among a small group of uncommitted voters who got to hear from and question the President in person during a town hall hosted by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. The event took place at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia - a key region for Democrats to turn out voters in a battleground state both campaigns are trying to win - seven weeks ahead of Election Day.

“Please stop and let me finish my question sir,” Blaque said when President Trump interrupted her as she asked about health care.  

Blaque, who reluctantly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, told the President she has an inflammatory disease called sarcoidosis.

“I want to know what it is that you’re going to do to assure that people like me who work hard and do everything we’re supposed to to do, can stay insured,” she said during the town hall in the question directed toward the President.

President Trump, whose administration is arguing to strike down the Affordable Care Act in court, told Blaque: “We are not going to do anything to hurt pre-existing conditions, we are not going to hurt pre-existing conditions, in fact just the opposite.”

The President has repeatedly teased a new health care plan to replace “Obamacare” but has not revealed details.

Blaque wasn’t satisfied with the response and also accused the President of not showing empathy at the event to another voter.

“I felt as though Donald Trump A, didn’t listen to anything I said except what he wanted to hear and that B, he just fluffed me off his shoes like I was soot," she said.

Blaque says she made a decision.

“I have to vote and I have to vote for Joe Biden,” Blaque said.

She told NBC10 she still has concerns about the records of both Biden and his running-mate Sen. Kamala Harris on issues of crime and incarceration however.

“I believe that people like them are capable of change,” Blaque said, noting that she would forgive but not forget.

While Blaque says she doesn’t feel President Trump answered her question, Pastor Carl Day says he does feel there was an answer in the President’s response to his question about race.

“I wanted to hear his heart,” Day said in an interview Wednesday. “I felt like he was very dismissive toward even admitting there was an issue of race in America, so in this climate I felt like he made a lot of things clear for me.”

Day, who voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein in 2016, says he will not vote for President Trump but isn’t sure what he will do in November. Day says he still considers himself undecided, wanting to hear more from Biden and Harris on plans to deal with issues of systemic racism and wealth inequality.

“I cannot just sit here and say I’m going to be okay with just the status quo going into a vote blindly just because, hey it’s not ‘45,’” Day said, referring to President Trump’s status as the country’s 45th president. “I can’t do that.”

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