Days before his inauguration, Trump told a group of civil rights leaders during a meeting at Trump Towers that low turnout among Black voters in 2016 contributed to him being elected.
“Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ‘cause they liked me. That was almost as good as getting the vote,” Trump said in audio of the meeting that was obtained by POLITICO. “It was great.”
The meeting was held on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2017, with leaders from the Drum Major Institute, a voting rights group founded by Dr. King and Harry Wachtel, in regards to a proposal to put photo identification on Social Security cards to combat voter ID laws.
The meeting was attended by Martin Luther King III, William Wachtel, James Forbes, Johnny Mack, and Scott Rechler.
Tootsie Warhol, Wachtel’s then-chief of staff, recorded the meeting from is iPhone and shared it with POLITICO. Warhol, born Teddy Mukmal, provided the audio as part of his process of transitioning from a lawyer to an artist and activist, having left his law firm back in November.
“The first thing that I can never forget was how when you walked in, Trump name drops all these Black celebrities and tried to give the illusions they’re his friends,” Warhol told POLITICO.
During the meeting, the then-president-elect bragged about winning 11 percent of the Black vote in 2016, of which he only actually won eight percent, according to polls, and criticized the state of the country’s inner cities, saying “they are in bad shape.” Trump claimed to those who attended the meeting that he would work on inner cities during his presidency.
Warhol said Trump discussed the possibility of a follow-up meeting with the leaders in a month or two at the White House, which never came to fruition.