Story at a glance

  • Brewer praised Trump for his policies on prison reform.
  • The comment comes as the Trump campaign has moved to ramp up outreach to black voters.
  • The Trump campaign is opening 15 community centers in diverse cities to target black voters.

A former NFL player declared President Trump the “first black president” Thursday during a Black History Month round table discussion at the White House

“Mr. President, I don’t mean to interrupt, but I’ve got to say this because it’s Black History Month: man, you are the first black president,” Former NFL safety Jack Brewer, who was a guest at the roundtable, told Trump. 

The comment sparked a round of applause from the president’s other supporters who were in attendance, which included Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece Alveda King, conservative media personalities Diamond and Silk and others. 

Brewer said he was a Democrat all his life until he was “changed” and “inspired” by President Trump.

“You’ve changed me. You touched me. And you made my work go to another level. You inspire me. And every time I go into those prisons and I ask my guys how many of them had their sentences reduced and they raise their hands, I know I’m doing God’s work and I thank you for that,” Brewer said.

The former Vikings player is an ordained minister and Fordham University professor. 

The comment was likely a reference to the "first black president" nickname given to former President Bill Clinton by novelist Toni Morrison in 1998.

The Trump campaign has moved to court black voters in recent weeks, particularly in diverse cities in swing states. The campaign announced this week it is opening community centers in 15 major cities across the country to ramp up outreach to black voters. 

Exit polls showed Trump getting about 8 percent support among black voters in 2016. 

The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found only 14 percent of black voters have a favorable view of Trump, and a recent Hill-Harris X poll found 85 percent of black voters would back the Democratic nominee over the president. Meanwhile, a new survey from BlackPAC found 77 percent of African Americans view Trump as a racist.

Published on Feb 28, 2020