Eccentric boxing promoter Don King has attracted more criticism than praise for his introductory remarks at a Donald Trump campaign event in Ohio today. The event gathered black pastors together at a church in Cleveland to address issues within their communities. The controversial Mr. King gave a fourteen-minute address during which he proposed that Trump was a candidate of ‘inclusiveness’.
A short clip from near the end of the speech has gone viral. In the video, Mr. King, seemingly on accident, slips the N-word.
Mr. King was echoing a sentiment of the Trump campaign as of late. In short, a belief that, while black voters historically support Democratic candidates, those candidates, once in office, don’t govern in support of black communities.
If you keep voting for the same failed politicians, you will keep getting the same results. They don’t care about you. They just like you once every four years – get your vote then they say: ‘Bye, bye!’
- Donald Trump
Mr. King’s slip came while sharing the way in which he once explained to Michael Jackson that, whatever else he might be, a black individual is, first and foremost, black in the minds of most white Americans.
I told Michael Jackson, I said, if you are poor, you are a poor Negro – I would use the N-word – but if you are rich, you are a rich Negro. If you are intelligent, intellectual, you are an intellectual Negro. If you are a dancing and sliding and gliding [expletive], I mean Negro. [Laughs] You are a dancing and sliding and gliding Negro. So dare not alienate, because you cannot assimilate.
- Don King
Mr. Trump looked a touch uncomfortable, smirking a few feet behind Mr. King. Others in view behind the boxing promoter rocked with full body laughter.
The slip was not all that surprising, as Mr. King, moments before, admitted he was amending his word choice. However, the slip has attracted criticism for a candidate who continues to poll poorly with black voters.
Trump’s Pitch to Black Voters
During his speech at the church, Trump addressed recent comments that have attracted headlines.
I talked about the crime, I talked about the lack of education, the bad schools, and I talked about jobs -- the jobs are just so bad. Then one day I said, ‘What do you have to lose?’ Somehow that resonated – some people didn’t like it.
- Donald Trump
Trump’s recent outreach strategy to attract black voters has relied on pinning the blame for continued inequality in minority communities on Democratic leadership. To this end he has highlighted inner cities with high crime rates, and the high rate of unemployment in black communities. He recently stated crime rates are currently reaching record levels, but the fact-checking website Politifact rated this claim as ‘pants on fire’, noting that inner city crime has been on the decline for the past 25 years. He also drastically misstated the unemployment rate for black youths at a rally in Richmond, VA as being at 59%. The true rate is 18.7%, which is high, but nonetheless a far cry from Mr. Trump’s figures.
Mr. King’s slip likely won’t hurt the candidate who’s proven mostly fireproof to such gaffs. But it’s also not likely to win any new voters of any color who already find the candidate distasteful for just such episodes.