Trump Says His Indictments Are Helping Him Attract Black Voters

Trump Says His Indictments Are Helping Him Attract Black Voters

Former President Donald J. Trump said in a speech to a black conservative group Friday night that he believes the four criminal cases he is facing have won him the support of black voters because they highlight the historic injustice of the justice system in his mirrored saw legal problems.

“I think that’s why black people are so much on my side now,” Mr. Trump said at a Black Conservative Federation gala in Columbia, South Carolina, “Because they see what happens to me, happens to them. ” Does this make sense?”

Elsewhere in his speech, he pointed out that black voters were interested in him “because they were so badly hurt and discriminated against, and they actually saw me as someone who was discriminated against. It was pretty amazing.”

Mr. Trump has long used “law and order” to rally his conservative base and used coded racist language to attack political opponents. His comments Friday came in a speech full of explicit overtures to black voters, a group that has voted overwhelmingly for Democrats for decades but whose support he and his campaign are desperate to win.

As the former president has shifted his focus from the Republican primary, where he is the dominant front-runner, to the general election, he has increasingly included mentions of black voters in his speeches.

Typically, Mr. Trump claims that black Americans have fared better economically under his administration than under President Biden. He has also claimed that the influx of migrants at the southern border is disproportionately affecting Black workers, who are at risk of losing their jobs to immigrants willing to work for lower wages.

But in his speech on Friday, Mr. Trump aimed his remarks specifically at black voters. In particular, he linked one of the central criticisms fueling his campaign – that the 91 felony counts he faces are the work of politically motivated prosecutors and an unfair justice system – to a racist appeal.

At one point, Mr. Trump brought up the mugshot taken of him last August when he was indicted in Georgia on charges related to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in that state.

The Trump campaign has used the photo for fundraisers and plastered it on clothing, as have a number of independents across the political spectrum. Mr. Trump noticed that black people were wearing T-shirts with his booking photo.

“Do you know who embraced it more than anyone else?” Mr. Trump asked the crowd. “The black population.”

Mr. Trump also spoke at length about his signature criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act. He rarely mentioned that law — which aimed, among other things, to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes — while targeting predominantly white people in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Mr Trump has long been accused of racist comments and behavior. The Justice Department sued him in 1977 for discriminating against potential black tenants. He was criticized for taking out newspaper ads in New York in the 1980s calling on the state to stoke racial tensions following the rape of a jogger in Central Park, a crime falsely blamed on five black and Latino teenagers.

And he first emerged as a conservative political figure when he stoked hostility toward President Barack Obama by becoming a prominent figurehead of the so-called birther movement, which falsely cast doubt on whether Mr. Obama was born in the United States.

Mr. Trump continues to emphasize Mr. Obama’s middle name, Hussein, when he addresses him on the campaign trail. And he has continued to question whether political opponents of color are eligible for office, most recently Nikki Haley, his only remaining competitor for the Republican presidential nomination.

But Mr. Trump often touts his improved standing among black voters during the campaign. He won just 8 percent of Black voters nationwide in 2020 and 6 percent in 2016, but polls have shown him enjoying increasing support, particularly in crucial states.

As he thanked supporters and friends in the crowd during his speech on Friday – a typical feature of Trump’s campaign speeches – he noted that he was having a hard time recognizing them.

“The lights are so bright in my eyes that I can’t see many people out there,” Mr. Trump said to laughter from the audience. “But I can only see the black ones. I can’t see any white ones, you know?”

“I’ve come this far,” he added as the crowd cheered. “I’ve come this far. It’s a long – a long way, isn’t it?”

He also took aim at identity politics, even as he repeatedly tried to appeal to black voters.

While telling a story about negotiations over the price of an overhaul of Air Force One, Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Obama for not doing enough to reduce costs.

“Would you rather have the black president or the white president who took $1.7 billion off the price?” Mr. Trump asked the crowd, who cheered in response.

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2024-02-24 07:02:23