President Donald Trump on Friday delivered his pitch to a roomful of young African-American voters eager to throw their support behind the GOP candidate ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
According to POLITICO, hundreds of college-age Black conservatives packed the White House’s East Room last week for the 2019 Young Black Leadership Summit. The scene was quite reminiscent of one of the presidents campaign rallies, replete with boisterous chants of “USA! USA” and “four more years!”
“You broke the sound barrier,” Trump, 73, joked with the crowd of African-American students and young professionals. “I’ve never heard it quite like that, and I appreciate it. We love you!”
The real estate mogul didn’t deviate from his usual antics at Friday’s event, and wasted no time touting his track record with the Black community. After highlighting record-low Black unemployment rates (a trend started under his predecessor Barack Obama), Trump took aim at some of his African-American critics, Democrats and the media, the outlet reported.
At one point, however, the president, who’s facing impeachment, uttered a bit of truth when he credited Black people for building the United States of America in a nod to their ancestors’ enslavement.
“African-Americans built this nation,” Trump said, prompting cheers and whistles from the audience. “You built it. You know, you’re just starting to get real credit for that.”
“We all built it, but you were such a massive part of it,’ he continued. “Bigger than you were given credit for. Does that make sense?”
The young conservatives ate it up. However, the president’s pitch fell flat with critics who accused him of pandering in an effort to secure African-American support ahead of next year’s election.
“We’re supposed to jump up with joy with a simple truth from his mouth now?” one Twitter user opined. “He’s pretending to pander to a new group while maintaining term with his key voter base — White rural males. Not impressive, but not unexpected either.”
“He’ll say anything to get the black vote,” another chimed in.
One critic argued that Trump using “reverse psychology” to win over the Black community.
“He hasn’t said nothing great about blacks when he wasn’t in the hot seat,” they wrote. “Now he’s in the hot seat, blacks built this country; he is saying this because he y’all going to ride for him because he told the truth about us.”
The president’s latest remarks ran counter to his usual xenophobic, racially tinged rhetoric. Over the summer, he sparked a political firestorm after he ordered four congresswomen of colors to “go back” where they came from and smeared Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-Md.) Baltimore district as a “rat and rodent infested mess” where no one would want to live.
Filmmaker Tariq Nasheed offered a different take on the controversy.
“Trump says Black people built America,(and he is 100% correct),” he wrote. “What is interesting is the Democrats won’t even give Foundational Black Americans that credit. The Dems run around talking about ‘iMmigRaNtS bUiLt aMeRiCa.’ So what’s the difference between the Democrats and Trump?”