Earvin “Magic” Johnson, National Basketball Association legend and Michigan native, on Saturday ripped President Donald Trump for his record on combating the COVID-19 pandemic during a campaign event for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Detroit’s lower east side.
“Trump never had a plan,” Johnson said during the hour-long town outdoor hall meeting before a small group of socially distanced news reporters and neighborhood members next door to Rayfield’s Barber Shop. “[He] still doesn’t listen to the doctors and scientists about how to address this pandemic and keep us safe.”
In Michigan, state health officials confirmed a total of 144,897 coronavirus cases on Saturday, part of an upward trend. The state has experienced 7,010 deaths.
Johnson, a Lansing native, led Michigan State University men’s basketball team to a national championship in 1979. He was joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, state Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) and Detroit community activist Teferi Brent as part of the Biden campaign’s “Shop Talk” series for Black men.
Gilchrist said that the event was designed to encourage African-American voters and others to cast their ballot for Biden.
“It’s important having some like [Johnson], who is esteemed in our community,” Gilchrist said. “For him to talk about not only the importance of voting but to talk about how he is using his platform, about how all of us have a platform, I think is inspirational.”
Biden visited metro Detroit on Friday and focused on expanding health care. It was the former vice president’s third Michigan campaign stop since securing his party’s nomination in August. He last visited Michigan on Oct. 2. His wife, Jill Biden, is slated to campaign in Michigan Tuesday, but the campaign has not announced details.
After a highly successful professional basketball career where he earned five league championship titles, Johnson has become a business giant. Earlier this year, he announced that he would offer $100 million in loans to minority-owned businesses left out of the COVID-19 government relief fund program known as Paycheck Protection Program.
Tynetta Johnson, whose father opened the Detroit barber shop in 1967, said that she supports Biden and was excited to host Johnson.
“It was incredible to have Magic here today,” she said. “We’re so blessed to have him.”
On Friday, Biden said at Beech Woods Recreation Center in Southfield that Trump is not doing enough to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to call out racism and hatred in the country. Biden also lifted up the Obama-era law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“If Trump gets his way, 20 million more Americans will…