April 15, 2024
COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Former President Donald Trump spoke at the Black Conservative Federation honors gala Friday evening as he ramps up his effort to court black voters away from the Democratic Party. Several polls show President Joe Biden losing some support among black voters, who have overwhelmingly supported Democratic politicians. Trump’s remarks to the Black Conservative Federation came one day […]

COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Former President Donald Trump spoke at the Black Conservative Federation honors gala Friday evening as he ramps up his effort to court black voters away from the Democratic Party.

Several polls show President Joe Biden losing some support among black voters, who have overwhelmingly supported Democratic politicians.

Trump’s remarks to the Black Conservative Federation came one day before South Carolina‘s GOP primary, where he is leading former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

The former president claimed the crowd was “crooked Joe Biden’s absolutely worst nightmare: hundreds of proud black conservatives,” Trump said to roaring applause.

“Every day, we are welcoming more black voters back home to the Republican Party,” Trump taunted.

The black-tie gala held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center featured speeches from prominent Republican black men, including former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and Reps. Wesley Hunt (R-TX) and Byron Donalds (R-FL).

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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Scott and Donalds, notably, have both emerged on a list of possible vice presidential contenders for Trump should he become the presumptive GOP. They appeared with Trump on Friday afternoon at a Rock Hill, South Carolina, rally as well.

Gina Barr, a political operative and former director of women and urban engagement for the Republican National Committee, claimed black voters are concerned about the economy, fueling their support for Trump over Biden, in an interview with the Washington Examiner just before the gala started.

“What we’re seeing now is that people are realizing that their money doesn’t go as far as what it did,” Barr said. “And so when they’re seeing that, that now that their money isn’t as good as what it was, they think, ‘Oh, man, like yeah, I might not have liked Trump, but at least my money was good.’”

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at the Black Conservative Federation’s Annual BCF Honors Gala at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, South Carolina, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“When Trump was in office, the economy was a lot better. But now that Biden’s in there, everything’s just went downhill,” said James Prendergast, 37, a black voter from Great Falls, South Carolina. “So I think that when Trump gets in office again, he’ll make everything a lot more better and a lot more safer for us.”

Other black voters listed their Christian faith as why they are backing Trump.

“We are more than a one-issue group. We have a variety of issues. I’m pro-life,” said Linda Lee Tarver, 59, a retired election integrity expert living in Lansing, Michigan. “I’m looking at the low birth rates in Michigan. And it’s directly affected, especially in cities like Flint and Detroit and Lansing and Pontiac and Saginaw, which are high black communities.”

Trump touted his economic record, handling of the border, support for the sanctity of life, and leadership while addressing black conservatives Friday evening.

“And if you want strong borders, safe neighborhoods, rising wages, good jobs, great education, and the return of the American dream, then congratulations, you are a Republican,” Trump said to loud applause and some attendees who stood to clap for him.

He also received loud applause when he voiced support for in vitro fertilization in the wake of Alabama’s recent Supreme Court ruling declaring cryogenically frozen embryos are “extrauterine children.”

Among black adults, Biden’s approval rating was 42%, according to a January poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Yet Biden’s reelection campaign preemptively excoriated Trump’s appearance in a statement before the former president spoke.

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“The audacity of Donald Trump to speak to a room full of Black voters during Black History Month as if he isn’t the proud poster boy for modern racism,” said Jasmine Harris, black media director for the Biden campaign. “This is the same man who falsely accused the Central Park 5, questioned George Floyds humanity, compared his own impeachment trial to being lynched, and ensured the unemployment gap for Black workers spiked during his presidency.”

Trump, though, had a simple message for conservative black voters: “Come join us in the Republican Party and never, never look back.”

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