President Donald Trump is making a push to win over black voters in the 2020 presidential election, starting with a "Black Voices for Trump" rally in Atlanta, Georgia, today. But in the view of at least one Twitter user, the rally got off to a "comedic start."
Isaac Hayes III, son of the late soul singer and South Park voice actor Isaac Hayes, posted a photo to his Twitter account showing two attendees at the rally wearing white t-shirts with black lettering that read: Blacks for Trump. The "comedic" aspect, in Hayes' view, was that the pair was a white couple who appeared to be in their 70s.
Trump has long faced accusations of racism, defending himself by declaring that he is, in fact, "the least racist person there is anywhere in the world." But a poll taken over the summer showed that 80 percent of black people believe that Trump is racist.
As cited by Newsweek, another poll, this one conducted by The Associated Press in October, showed that only four percent of black Americans believe that in the first 34 months of his term, Trump's actions and policies have helped black people "in general."
In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won only eight percent of black voters, while his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, secured 89 percent the black vote.By 3 p.m. EST, about an hour after the scheduled start of Trump's speech at the "Black Voices for Trump" rally, Hayes' tweet had been retweeted almost 3,500 times and liked more than 11,000 times.
Trump 2020 campaign official Katrina Pierson, who is herself African-American, released a statement prior to the rally, saying that "black Americans have never had a better champion than President Trump."
However, many critics saw Trump's alleged outreach to black voters differently.
"I think black Americans are not the audience for these outreach efforts," Theodore Johnson, an expert on racial politics at the Brennan Center for Justice, told the AP.
Jamil Smith, a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, made a similar point via his Twitter account, calling the rally an example of one of Trump's "favorite amusements."
The "amusement" for Trump, in Smith's description, is "insulting the intelligence of black voters and convincing gullible white people that phony outreach negates his racist policies and rhetoric."
A White House official told WSB TV that Trump chose to kick off his outreach campaign to blacks voters in Atlanta because the city is an "epicenter" of black life in America.