Leaked audio shows Trump touted low Black voter turnout in 2016: report
President Trump reportedly said at a private Trump Tower meeting days before his inauguration that lower turnout by Black voters helped him in the 2016 election, according to audio newly obtained audio first reported by The Independent.
“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, then president-elect, said in the audio of the meeting which was also confirmed in a report by Politico.
The meeting was reportedly held with members of the voting rights group the Drum Major Institute, founded by Martin Luther King Jr. and focusing on civil rights issues. Those in attendance included Martin Luther King III, William Wachtel, James Forbes, Johnny Mack and Scott Rechler.
Tootsie Warhol, Wachtel’s former chief of staff, recounted the meeting to Politico and gave them the audio of the event meant to focus on voter ID laws and voting access.
Warhol told the publication Trump started the meeting by name-dropping his Black friends and celebrities and showcased a collection of memorabilia including a sneaker that 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 told Politico.
According to Politico, Trump’s first chief of staff Reince Priebus, senior adviser Jared Kushner and Omarosa Manigault attended the meeting as well.
During the meeting, Trump praised the turnout of Black and Hispanic voters who supported his campaign.
As recently as May, Trump’s campaign has predicted growing support from both groups this November in the president’s reelection efforts.