Top Dem Trolls Trump for Juneteenth: All the Cities You Diss Are Black

Erika Goldring/Getty Images FOR ESSENCE
Erika Goldring/Getty Images FOR ESSENCE

On Juneteenth, the federal holiday that marks the end of slavery in America, the head of the Democratic National Committee is hitting former President Donald Trump for making his most disparaging comments about predominantly Black cities.

“Trump is a lot of things but he certainly isn’t subtle—all of the cities he denigrates have one important thing in common: they all have significant Black populations,” DNC Chair Jaime Harrison wrote in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Whether it’s Milwaukee, Philly, Detroit, or Atlanta, Trump isn’t just insulting 97 square miles on a map, he’s insulting Black communities, Black history, and Black voices.”

“He’s telling us exactly what he thinks of Black Americans, and we’re listening,” Harrison continued. “That’s why when we go to the polls on Nov. 5, we’re going to vote for someone who respects Black communities, who uplifts Black voices, and who commemorates Black history. We’re going to vote for President Joe Biden.”

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Over the years, Trump has indeed reserved many of his harshest criticisms for cities that are majority or plurality Black, calling them “corrupt,” “disgusting,” and “like living in Hell.” Trump has defended these comments by saying he was only talking about the challenges residents of those cities face and that Black voters were glad he made them.

“President Trump is referring to how Democrat policies are failing these blue cities,” Team Trump Black Media Director Janiyah Thomas wrote in a statement to The Daily Beast. “If you ask the average voter in these cities, they will say that Joe Biden and the Democrats have abandoned their communities and they are desperate for change. Team Trump’s outreach to minority communities is a stark contrast to Joe Biden’s failing campaign whose only tactic is to gaslight Black voters.”

Black voters, who have recently supported Democrats by enormous margins, could swing this year’s election, and both parties are looking to shore up their support among this key demographic.

Trump may have made an error on that front when he reportedly told a group of Republicans last week that Milwaukee, where the Republican National Convention will take place next month, “is a horrible city.” Afterwards, The New York Times reported that Trump hadn’t even planned to stay in Milwaukee for the convention; until reporters asked, the story alleged, the former president had intended to sleep at Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

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The DNC had a field day with Trump’s reported comment, rolling out ten new billboards around Milwaukee that highlighted what he said. The former president, meanwhile, downplayed the reports, saying on TV that he was “always planning on staying” in Cream City and telling a crowd in Racine, WI, “I love Milwaukee. I was the one that picked Milwaukee.”

According to Census data, Black residents make up the largest share of Milwaukee’s population

This isn’t the first time the former president has slammed the city. Shortly after losing the 2020 election, Trump namechecked the city, along with others with large Black populations, like Detroit, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, as “long known for being politically corrupt!”

Some of Trump’s most vivid criticisms have targeted the cities with the largest shares of Black residents.

“You look at Honduras, Guatemala, all of these different places,” Trump said during a 2020 Fox News Town Hall. “We have cities that are worse—in some cases, far worse. Take a look at Detroit. Take a look at what’s happening in Oakland. Take a look at what’s happening in Baltimore. And everyone gets upset when I say it. They say, ‘Oh, is that a racist statement?’ It’s not [racist.] Frankly, Black people come up to me and say, ‘Thank you. Thank you, sir, for saying it.’ They want help. These cities, it’s like living in hell.”

Census data indicates that Detroit’s population is about 80 percent Black, while Baltimore is about 61 percent Black. Oakland is an exception, at about 22 percent Black.

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In a 2019 tiff with the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, who represented Baltimore, Trump called the congressman’s district “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” tweeting about Cummings, “If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.”

“Those people are living in hell in Baltimore,” he added in remarks to reporters days later. “They're largely African American. You have a large African American population. And they really appreciate what I’m doing, and they've let me know it.”

“I can tell you I’m the least racist person there is in the world,” he said on C-SPAN.

His remarks then echoed those he made during his previous campaign. In 2016, Trump said people of color in America’s inner cities were “living in hell,” part of his pitch to Black Americans that they had little to lose by voting for him.

This time around, Trump’s campaign has emphasized the former president’s appeal to Black voters. A recent press release from the campaign’s deputy communications director highlighted CNN’s reporting that the former president had improved his support among Black voters from 7 percent in 2020 to 21 percent this year.

Trump announced a Black Americans for Trump coalition this weekend. He also spoke at a Black church—to a crowd that included many white attendees.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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