If you assumed President Donald Trump‘s 2020 re-election campaign had given up on courting the Black vote this year – you’d be terribly mistaken.
As NPR points out, “before the coronavirus crisis decimated the U.S. economy, the record-low unemployment rate for African Americans was the backbone of President Trump’s reelection pitch to Black voters.”
But now, with Black employees losing their jobs at a much higher rate than whites and being hospitalized more and dying more from the coronavirus – the Trump administration is still hoping to get Black voters to cast a vote for him in November.
“We’re doing everything in our power to address this challenge … and provide support to African American citizens of this country who are going through a lot. But it’s been disproportional. They’re getting hit very, very hard,” Trump said at a briefing in early April.
And as we previously reported, prior to the pandemic there were plans to have field offices popping up in 15 cities with significant African American communities. Those spaces were intended to be used as a hub for campaign events, activities, and meet-and-greets with Trump surrogates.
“We see the numbers coming up in the polls and the demand on the ground when we do these types of events, so it’s really important that we take this next step and really bring those voters into the party,” Katrina Pierson, a senior Trump campaign adviser, explained at the time.
Now that social distancing has become the law of the land, the president’s team has pushed the campaign online via a video chat series called Real Talk. Despite the critique that Trump has grossly mismanaged his response to the pandemic and arguably cost many Black people both their jobs and their lives, the series aims to focus on his wins while bashing Democrats and the media.
“President Trump has taken decisive action in terms of his leadership and addressing COVID-19, especially with the black community,” Paris Dennard, a senior communications adviser for the Republican National Committee, said on the program last month.
However, the series has already sparked some controversy. Just last month, longtime Black Trump supporters Diamond and Silk — Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson — raised brows after complaining about stay-at-home orders during an installment of Real Talk.
“When you leave somebody shut up in their house, instead of them catching coronavirus, they’re going to catch diabetes, high blood pressure,” Hardaway said before the duo went even further and compared “social distancing” to socialism and slavery.
“This is socialism, phase one,” opined Hardaway. “If we’re not careful, this is what we’re going to see. We’re going to be slaves up and through here if we’re not careful.”
Despite those comments, campaign spokesman Ken Farnaso said Diamond and Silk remain “valued members of Team Trump.”
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