President Trump blamed the news media for a poll released Tuesday that found that 80 percent of African-Americans surveyed consider him a “racist.”
“The fake news doesn’t report it properly, people like you. Fake news does not report it properly,” Trump told reporters gathered outside the White House.
Trump was asked for his reaction to the Quinnipiac University poll taken in the wake of the president’s latest Twitter attacks against Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. Cummings is black and represents a mostly black district, which Trump described as “a rat and rodent infested mess.” Overall, the poll showed 51 percent of Americans believed Trump to be racist while 45 percent said he was not. The president was asked to comment on the poll’s finding that only 11 percent of African-Americans agreed he is not a racist.
“If the news reported properly, you know, the right way, like instead of a statement like you just made,” Trump told the reporter who asked about the poll, “if the news reported it properly of all of the things I’ve done for African-Americans, of all of the things like criminal justice reform, like opportunity zones, I think I’d do very well with the African-Americans, and I think I’m doing very well right now, and frankly if I didn’t do very well, relatively speaking, as a Republican, I mean, we should be way, way over 50 percent, but if you look back over 40 years it just doesn’t work that way. If I didn’t do well, relatively speaking, I wouldn’t be president right now. But if you look at what I’ve done for African-Americans, it’s more than almost all presidents.”
In the 2016 presidential election, 88 percent of African-Americans voted for Hillary Clinton and just 8 percent supported Trump.
Earlier in the day Trump gave a speech in Jamestown, Va., honoring the birth of democracy in the New World in which he cited the contributions and struggles of the African-American community.
“Today, in honor, we remember every sacred soul who suffered the horrors of slavery and the anguish of bondage,” Trump said in a speech that was interrupted by a heckler protesting his call for Democratic members of Congress to “go back” to the countries they descended from. “In the face of grave oppression and grave injustice, African-Americans have built, strengthened, inspired, uplifted, protected, defended and sustained our nation from its very earliest days.”
Trump has repeatedly lashed out against minority officeholders who have criticized him, putting racial politics in the spotlight ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
His first tweets targeting Cummings came on Saturday, one day after Cummings gave impassioned remarks at an evening news conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats following the testimony given by former special counsel Robert Mueller.
I'm begging the American people to pay attention to what is going on. Because if you want to have a democracy intact for your children, and your children's children, and generations yet unborn we've got to guard this moment…this is our watch. pic.twitter.com/ShTZwbQROP— Elijah E. Cummings (@RepCummings) July 24, 2019
Asked Tuesday whether his attacks on Cummings and other minority members in Congress were part of a larger reelection strategy, Trump demurred.
“There’s no strategy, I have no strategy, there’s zero strategy,” he said.
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