September 22, 2016 10:43 PM EDT
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WATCH: Trump discusses issues facing the country.
Donald Trump said Thursday that America needs a united spirit to help a divided country, after two separate fatal police shootings of African Americans in Tulsa and Charlotte increased already strained racial tensions in the U.S.
“We have a very divided country, we need jobs, we need education and frankly we need spirit because the spirit is so bad,” said Trump during an exclusive interview at the Aston Community Center, as a second night of protests rocked the city of Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We have to create jobs for people, and we have to do better with the education, it’s a big, big problem.”
Trump’s message took on a softer tone when speaking with Circa on Thursday evening in Chester Township, Pennsylvania.
Hours before, during a speech at the Shale Insight 2016 Conference in Pittsburgh, the Republican presidential candidate sparked criticism for suggesting drugs were to blame for the violence created by racial tensions in cities across the nation.
Trump spent the majority of his speech in Pittsburgh addressing the riots in Charlotte, where Keith Lamont Scott was shot by a police officer.
“If you’re not aware, drugs are a very, very big factor in what you’re watching on television at night,” the Republican presidential candidate said.
In Chester Township, he seized on the national discourse addressing a cheering audience, saying, “The rioting in our streets is a threat to all peaceful citizens, and it must be ended and ended now.
“To all citizens in all of our inner cities, and all across the country, I say these words to you tonight: I am with you and I will fight for you, I promise.”
On Tuesday night, Trump compared some inner-city communities to Middle Eastern war zones and Afghanistan.
‘We’re going to make our country wealthy again. We’re going to make our country safe again,” Trump said in Kenansville, North Carolina. “We’re going to rebuild our inner cities because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before – ever, ever ever.”
But NAACP President Cornell William Brooks derided Trump on Wednesday on CNN for saying “African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before. Ever. Ever. Ever.”
Brooks told Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room, “The fact that African Americans were lynched, African-Americans were forced to drink out of colored water fountains, ride in the back of the bus, were enslaved in this country … demonstrates a profound ignorance of history and insensitivity to what we are going through at this very moment.”
You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC