- Donald Trump, then president-elect, told civil rights leaders in a private meeting at Trump Tower that low Black turnout in 2016 was “great.”
- “Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ’cause they liked me. That was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great,” Trump said, according to newly leaked audio obtained by Politico.
- Part of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s loss can be attributed to lower turnout, particularly among Black people, which declined for the first time in 20 years in the 2016 presidential election.
- Trump has struggled to garner widespread support from Black communities.
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Shortly before his inauguration, Donald Trump privately disclosed that low voter turnout among Black people helped him win in 2016, according to reporting from Politico.
The then-president elect held a closed meeting with a group of civil rights leaders at Trump Tower, in which he asked if they were “surprised” at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s loss and gloated about his victory.
“Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ’cause they liked me,” Trump said, according to a 45-minute leaked recording of the meeting obtained by Politico. “That was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great.”
The newly revealed remarks come as Trump has struggled to garner widespread support among Black voters for the upcoming 2020 election, similar to his last race, despite launching initiatives like “Black Voices for Trump” aimed at increasing outreach. Recent polling shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with an estimated 89% lead over Trump, who has 8% support.
Experts have previously cited that Black voting rates in the 2016 presidential election contributed to Clinton’s defeat, which had dropped for the first time in 20 years. Black voter turnout was at an all-time high in 2012, at 66.6%, and surpassed that of white voters. Eleven percent of Black people who voted for former President Barack Obama stayed home in 2016.
Black people who did vote in 2016, overwhelmingly favored Clinton. She held an 80-point advantage over Trump with the voting bloc, according to exit polls.
Trump has previously overstated his support with the Black community and did so in the private meeting, which included leaders Martin Luther King III, William Wachtel, James Forbes, Johnny Mack, and Scott Rechler, according to Politico. Wachtel’s then-chief of staff provided the recording to Politico this week, the news outlet reported.
During the meeting, Trump also talked about how many Black friends he has, name-dropping celebrities like Shaquille O’Neal, and called the late civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis a “good icon.”