Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said Monday that he would address the "horrible mess" of cities like Baltimore by creating incentives for companies to move in and create jobs.
"I watched Baltimore, I have many, many friends in Baltimore, we watched what happened," Trump told the editorial board of the Washington Post on Monday, according to a transcript posted on the newspaper's website. "We have to create incentives for people to go back and to reinvigorate the areas and to put people to work."
Trump, who was referring to last April's riots, mentioned Baltimore in the context of foreign aid that he said would be better spent at home. Trump said he would be cognizant of the "outer world" but said that "our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially in the inner cities."
Trump's economic message was not far off the argument that has been made by members of both parties. In her address following the Baltimore riots last year, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton also discussed the need "to provide economic opportunity, better educational chances for young people, more support to families."
Clinton also spoke at length about law enforcement during that address, calling for a "rebalancing" of the criminal justice system and embracing the idea of body cameras.
On Monday, editors at The Post tried to pin Trump down on law enforcement practices, and whether he saw disparities in how predominately African American communities are policed. The New York businessman said he had no opinion on that issue, and said he wants to see how the trial of six Baltimore police officers turns out before weighing in on Freddie Gray's death.
"It would concern me. But at the same time it can be solved to a large extent with jobs," Trump said. "You know, if we can rebuild those communities and create incentives for companies to move in and create jobs. Jobs are so important. There are no jobs. There are none."
Trump is leading the Republican presidential field in Maryland, a poll for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore found earlier this month. That survey found he had support from more than one third of likely voters in the state's GOP primary, a nine-point lead over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.