President Donald Trump traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday to launch the “Black Voices for Trump” coalition for his 2020 re-election campaign.
“We’re going to campaign for every last African American vote in 2020,” he said in a speech as the crowd cheered.
The president celebrated his successful first term presidency, bringing unemployment for the black community to historic lows, restoring the strength of the economy, passing criminal justice reform, and creating tax-exempt opportunity zones.
Trump recalled his controversial statement during the 2016 campaign to the black community, asking them “What the hell do you have to lose?” by supporting a Republican for president.
“I do my best work off-script,” Trump said, and added with a grin, “I hate to say this, I also do my worst work … it makes things very exciting.”
Many prominent African-American Trump supporters joined the event audience, including Pastor Darrell Scott and “Diamond and Silk,” as well as Harrison Floyd.
— Gail Wilson (@MsGailWilson) November 8, 2019
The newly elected Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the first black Attorney General elected to office in Kentucky, was also present for the event.
“What do you prefer: Blacks for Trump or African-Americans for Trump?” he asked.
"What do you prefer: Blacks for Trump or African-Americans for Trump?"
"Blacks for Trump … Blacks for Trump … Blacks for Trump …Blacks for Trump … Blacks for Trump … Blacks for Trump … Blacks for Trump" pic.twitter.com/ym2kAbKGmn
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) November 8, 2019
The crowd of black American Trump supporters chanted in response, “Blacks for Trump!”
Trump said that Democrats had taken the black vote for granted, criticizing them for failing urban communities by opening up the Southern borders to crime and drugs and failing to reduce crime.
The president pointed out that the 20 most dangerous cities were run by Democrats and that 58 percent of the murder victims under 22 were African-American.
“America is waking up to the Democrat party’s record of suffering and neglect,” Trump said, accusing Democrats of only showing up and making promises to black voters every four years.
Trump was introduced by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, who delivered a passionate speech in defense of the president.
“Thank you for your courage to be here, because in the society that we live in today it takes a lot of courage to say that you’re supporting President Trump,” Carson said.
Carson compared the Democrats to slave owners who tried to manipulate and intimidate African-Americans to keep them divided and enslaved.
“Today they say if you are a conservative then you are somehow an Uncle Tom, you’re a horrible person, you’re a demon,” he said. “What a bunch of crap.”
Carson said that he had gotten used to criticism as a black conservative, noting his time in leftist communities like Detroit, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.
“It doesn’t bother me anymore, because I only worry about what God thinks,” he said as the crowd cheered.
Carson dismissed Trump’s critics who described the president as a horrible racist, citing the president’s history of standing up for black Americans.
He recalled that activist Jesse Jackson awarded Trump for his contributions to the black community and opening up his club at Mar-a-Lago to Jews and blacks. He also said that Trump dramatically increased funding for historically black colleges and created tax-free opportunity zones for struggling urban communities.
“Let me tell you something: if he’s a racist, he’s an awfully bad one,” Carson said. “He needs to get a lesson from the real racists.”
He also criticized the media for picking on the president but acknowledged that he was not perfect.
“The only one who ever was perfect was Jesus and they crucified him,” Carson said.
Vice President Mike Pence also spoke at the event.
“Black voices for Trump know that President Donald Trump has delivered for African Americans in every community in every state in this nation,” Pence said.
He spoke at length about the importance of African American contributions to the character of the United States.
“As President Trump said just last month, African-Americans built this nation and we celebrate that proud heritage,” he said.