A newly released recording made days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration depicts the then-president-elect touting low Black voter turnout as a reason for his victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 election.
“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 can be heard saying on a recording of a meeting, audio that recently was obtained by Politico.
The 45-minute private meeting with Republican civil rights activists took place at Trump Tower on Jan. 16, 2017, four days before Trump was sworn in a president. Lawyer-turned-activist Tootsie Warhol, who attended the meeting, recorded the audio with his phone and shared it last week with Politico.
“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 told Politico.
At the meeting, Trump gloated that he had won 11 percent of the Black vote during the 2016 election. Exit polls showed that Trump won just 8 percent of the Black vote.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere issued a statement on Friday after Trump’s comments were made public. “The President is grateful for his support among Black Americans, and their many contributions to helping make America great, he said. “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. Anyone who suggests otherwise is only seeking to sew division and ignore the President’s work for underserved communities.”
As the nation prepares for large-scale mail-in voting this November, Trump continues to make the claim that voter fraud will be widespread this election year, although claims that mail-in voting will lead to significant fraud have been repeatedly debunked by experts.
Earlier this month, former President Barack Obama accused Trump of attempting to suppress the vote by undermining the United States Postal Service.
Politico also noted that Democrats tend to benefit most from high voter turnout, and that limiting access to absentee ballots could keep Black people in particular from voting.