So, another chapter in the Donald Trump Outreach to Black America saga unfolds Wednesday night.
Let me speak for African Americans across the country in asking: What have we done to deserve this annoying, misdirected, condescending excuse for voter “outreach”?
Surely by now Trump knows that black people are insulted by his “What do you have to lose?” taunt. And make no mistake, that’s what it is – a taunt.
I can’t help but think he’s just doing it now to needle black people. After all, black members of Congress branded him an arrogant racist in the wake of Friday’s crassly handled, apology-less disavowal of the birther conspiracy theory against Barack Obama.
So what better way for Trump to “hit back” – to use a favorite construction of his – than by holding a town hall meeting Wednesday to discuss “the core issues and concerns surrounding African-Americans”?
It’s on Fox News. Assisting him with the explication of black America’s ills will be his African American preacher friend Darrell Scott and none other than that noted scholar of the African American experience, Fox blatherer Sean Hannity.
Give me a break! This is like Louis Farrakhan calling for a town hall meeting on Black Entertainment Television to talk about all the woes of white people.
Yes, Louis Farrakhan. Both are racial nationalists. Both love conspiracy theories. Trump hasn’t met one he won’t entertain. Farrakhan still insists that Osama bin Laden was innocent and that the U.S. government used the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to attack Muslim countries.
Both are known for going too far while “telling it like it is.” Trump’s followers eat it up when he tells black people how terrible their inner city communities are. Farrakhan’s black audiences seem to love it when he delivers his blistering indictments of white mischief, using the historical sins of slavery and atrocities against American Indian nations as proof.
And as controversial as both men rightfully are, both have that charisma thing going. Trump’s a TV impresario who always seems to shine when the lights come on. Farrakhan was once a calypso singer who performed under the name “The Charmer.”
There is one very big difference between the two, of course. No major national party has ever crowned Farrakhan its nominee. There’s no Secret Service detail assigned to Farrakhan, no national media pack straining to hear and record his every word.
Trump, given the biggest spotlight of his life, has now chosen to use part of it in a cynical, shameless trolling of black America. If he really wanted to help with the very real problems he knows nothing about, wouldn’t it make far more sense to do less talking and more listening?
After years as the birther-in-chief, peddling lies aimed at de-legitimizing America’s first black president, does he expect anybody to think he actually, really, sincerely wants to help? If he wasn’t a part of a campaign and in need of an anti-racism shield, would he still be stopping by black churches?
Will Trump apologize for the birther nonsense during this town hall? Who knows? Will he mean it if he does? I sincerely doubt it, given how hard and how long he pushed the issue.
Here’s a better question: Just how racially gullible, if I may make that a term, does Trump think fence-sitting college-educated white women are? After all, that’s who this “outreach” is really meant for.
Black folks certainly aren’t fooled. His poll numbers with black people remain exactly where they’ve always been – in the cellar. If there are any white people beyond his hardcore fans who are taken in by this stunt, allow me to say I find that amazing, not to mention utterly disappointing.