According to The Hill, Trump reportedly stated during a private Trump Tower meeting, just days before his inauguration, that low turnout rates by Black voters helped him win the election for Presidency back in 2016. There is reportedly an audio recording of this meeting.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ’cause they liked me. That was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great,” Trump, whom was then president-elect, reportedly said during the audio of the meeting.
The meeting was reportedly held with members of the voting rights group from the Drum Major Institute, in which was founded by Martin Luther King Jr., and focuses on civil rights issues. Those reportedly in attendance of the meeting included Martin Luther King III, William Wachtel, James Forbes, Johnny Mack and Scott Rechler.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Wachtel’s former chief of staff, Tootsie Warhol, reportedly revealed the meeting to Politico and gave them the audio of the meeting which the topics of discussion were on voter ID laws and voting access. Warhol reportedly told the publication that Trump started off the meeting in a highly inappropriate way by name-dropping his Black friends and celebrities. He even allegedly showcased a collection of memorabilia which include a sneaker that once belonged to NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Tyson’s belt and his chair from “The Apprentice.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“The first thing that I can never forget was how when you walked in, [Trump] name-drops all these Black celebrities and tries to give the illusion that they’re his friends,” Warhol reportedly told Politico. According to Politico, Omarosa Manigault, Trump’s first chief of staff Reince Priebus, and senior adviser Jared Kushner were also in attendance at the meeting. Trump also applauded the turnout of Black and Hispanic voters who supported his campaign during that meeting.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
During the audio, Trump reportedly returns to the room after stepping out for a phone call and tells the attendants at the meeting it “was your friend [Former President] Barack [Obama]” and said they have “a very good relationship.” Trump later told the attendees that he listens “better to the African American people than anybody else,” including those at the meeting. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere reportedly said Trump is “grateful for his support among Black Americans, and their many contributions to helping make America great. “Donald Trump’s record as a private citizen and as president has been one of fighting for inclusion and advocating for the equal treatment of all,” the statement said. “Anyone who suggests otherwise is only seeking to sew (sic) division and ignore the President’s work for underserved communities.”
It was reported that as recent as May, Trump’s campaign is expecting huge support from Black and Hispanic voters for his 2020 Presidential re-election efforts. The leaked commentary from Trump back in the 2016 meeting comes during a time where he is publicly against expanding mail-in-voting, believing without evidence that it will lead to “widespread voter fraud”. Democrats stance is quite opposite, believing that the voting method is highly important make sure that everyone can vote safely during the coronavirus pandemic.