ATLANTA — President Donald Trump made an extensive pitch to African American voters Friday at a campaign event in Atlanta launching the Black Voices for Trump coalition, reprising his 2016 argument that Democrats have done little for the African American community and arguing they are too focused on things like impeachment to work on its behalf.
“The hard left Democrats have been busy doing absolutely nothing for you,” Trump said.
“First it was the Russia hoax, then it was the Mueller report, the biggest lie ever perpetrated among the American people, Russia,” he said. “They don’t care, but we do, OK? That’s really the truth.”
In an announcement earlier this week, the campaign billed Black Voices for Trump as a coalition “dedicated to recruiting and activating” African American voters who support the President.
Exit polls showed Trump won just 8% of African American voters in 2016.
The President recounted how he arrived at his now-infamous pitch to black voters in 2016 — when he asked African-Americans “What the hell do you have to lose?” by voting for him — and said the question was not in his prepared remarks.
“I do my best work off script,” he said. “You never get in trouble with you go off script.”
Amid laughter from the crowd, Trump amended his statement.
“I do my best and my worst work,” he said. “It makes things very exciting too.”
Trump repeatedly claimed that Democrats have fought harder for undocumented immigrants than for African Americans, a theme other speakers at the campaign event had mentioned.
“They only want to really use radical socialism and they want to open your borders,” he said.
“Never have they fought that hard to do anything for the African American community,” Trump added.
The President and Vice President Mike Pence urged the supporters who attended to encourage others to vote for Trump in 2020, with both promising to court the black vote actively in the election.
“We need you to reach out to your friends, your neighbors, your churches,” Trump said.
At the outset of what was at times a raucous event, the President polled the crowd on what title they preferred for their coalition: Blacks Voices for Trump or African-American Voices for Trump.
“We’re going to campaign for every last African-American vote in 2020,” Trump said.
“We’re going to make 2020 a year of change in black communities all across the country,” Trump said.
Pence, who spoke before the President, predicted Trump will be reelected with a “historic” share of the African American vote.
“To keep America great, we need all of you to lend your voice,” Pence said. “African Americans and every American need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House.”
Pence touted administration policies he said have benefited African Americans, including the creation of opportunity zones, economic revamps that have lowered the black unemployment rate and Veterans Affairs revisions that have helped African American veterans.
He received one of his biggest reactions from the crowd when he cited statistics about abortion rates among African Americans and touted the Trump administration’s stance against abortion.