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Trump suggests he has done more for Black Americans than Lincoln

Ex-president could be making inroads with Black voters as Biden struggles with unpopularity and age concerns

John Bowden
Washington DC
Thursday 30 November 2023 00:05 GMT
Donald Trump mocks supporter for shouting 'we love you'

Former president Donald Trump labelled himself a greater friend to Black Americans than Abraham Lincoln on Wednesday as he made his latest half-baked play for Black voters.

The ex-president was touting his endorsement from Mark Fisher, a founder of a small Black Lives Matter offshoot group in Rhode Island, in a Truth Social posting when he made the claim. It was just the latest in a long line of remarks from the former president that have betrayed a poor understanding of American history (at a minimum) while also provoking its own racist narrative — namely, that the end of slavery was inconsequential compared to Mr Trump’s presidency.

“Spoke with Mark Fisher yesterday, a great guy, very honored to have his and BLM’s support,” wrote the former president, referring to the activist group.

His post then continued: “I have done more for Black people than any other President (Lincoln?), including 10 year funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, where they had none, Opportunity Zones, Criminal Justice Reform, and much more.”

The former president’s term in the White House was punctuated with a series of incidents that illuminated major undercurrents of racism within the United States. Beginning in 2017, with the march of white nationalists through Charlottesville, Virginia, the four years of Mr Trump’s presidency also saw America’s image on the world stage wounded by revelations that the US president had labeled a number of African nations as well as Haiti in the Caribbean “s***hole countries”.

On January 6, the culmination of his efforts to stay in power post-election, throngs of Mr Trump’s supporters invaded the United States Capitol — and were witnessed on bodycam footage hurling racist abuse at Black officers defending lawmakers hiding inside.

Mr Trump has long pointed to his record on reducing unemployment among Black Americans to historic lows as a reason why Black voters should consider backing his campaign; historically, more than 8 in 10 Black voters have supported Democratic candidates in every presidential election dating back decades.

A recent poll from The New York Times and Siena College, however, shows Mr Trump with the highest percentage of support among Black voters of any GOP presidential candidate in decades.

That same poll gave a potential reason for this jump in support, however: Joe Biden’s unpopularity.

The incumbent president is struggling with every major demographic that typically supports Democrats, according to the poll, and faces concerns about his age and ability to serve effectively.

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