Over the past two weeks, there has been controversy over a series of tweets widely labeled as racist, which Trump responded to by calling Elijah Cummings, the 12-term congressional rep from Maryland who is African-American, a racist. Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he is “the least racist person there is anywhere in the world,” according to a USA Today account.
But when asked by a reporter why black Americans appear to disagree, Trump lashed out at the reporter, and the news media.
Trump, in the Tuesday morning exchange with journalists, also attacked civil rights leader and MSNBC cable news host Al Sharpton as a racist, according to The Washington Post.
He claimed without providing any proof or examples, “The African American people have been calling the White House. They have never been so happy about what a president has done.”
“Trump will often claim that he’s received calls from people offering their support; generally those claims are unprovable,” Post correspondent Philip Bump wrote, as in this case in which Trump claims only that “the African-American people” have been calling him, rather than any specific individual.
A Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday morning, prior to Trump’s impromptu exchange with reporters, showed that an overwhelming 80 percent of African Americans now believe that Trump himself is racist, according to a CT Mirror report.
The poll also showed that an even greater number, 89 percent, of black voters have already made up their minds that they “definitely” will not vote for Trump in the 2020 presidential election. But when asked about the poll results by a White House press corps reporter, Trump blamed not his own tweets or policies, but what he again called “fake news” for his dismal numbers among African Americans, according to Raw Story, as can be seen in the video, above.
“You know why? Because the fake news doesn’t report it properly people like you! Fake news does not report it properly!” Trump said, pointing at the reporter who asked the question. “If the news reported it properly for all of the things I’ve done for African-Americans… I think I’d do very well with the African Americans!”
Trump has often boasted that during his term, he has produced the lowest unemployment rate for African-Americans in the history of the country. But as The Associated Press reported, “Trump is seeking credit he doesn’t deserve for black job growth.”
While black unemployment numbers dipped to 5.9 percent in May of 2018, and have since ticked back up to a even six percent, Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers reveal that the vast majority of decline in black unemployment came under Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama.
In the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, black unemployment jumped from 12.7 percent to 16.5 percent in the first year of Obama’s two terms. But by May of 2010, as Obama’s Recovery Act — better known as the “stimulus,” as NPR reported — took effect, black unemployment started to drop. By the time Obama left office in January of 2017, the number stood at 7.7 percent — less than half of what it had been at its peak.
But after two years and five months of Trump’s term, black unemployment has dropped a mere 1.7 percentage points, to the six percent figure recorded at the end of June 2019.