At a private Trump Tower meeting before his inauguration, President Trump touted that lower turnout by Black voters helped him win the 2016 election.
“Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ’cause they liked me. That was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great,” Trump, then president-elect, said in the audio of the meeting, which was confirmed in reports by Politico and The Hill.
The meeting in which Trump made the claims was reportedly held with members of the voting rights group the Drum Major Institute. The institute was founded by Martin Luther King Jr. Those in the meeting included Martin Luther King III, William Wachtel, James Forbes, Johnny Mack, and Scott Rechler.
Tootsie Warhol, Wachtel’s former chief of staff, who gave Politico the audio of the president, said the meeting was supposed to be about voter ID laws and voting access.
According to Warhol, Trump started the meeting by name dropping Black celebrities and friends he knew before showing off some memorabilia, including a sneaker that once belonged to Shaquille O’Neal and Mike Tyson’s championship belt.
“The first thing that I can never forget was how when you walked in, [Trump] name-drops all these Black celebrities and tries to give the illusion that they’re his friends,” Warhol told Politico.
During the meeting, which included former Trump staff members Reince Priebus and Omarosa Manigault, Trump praised the turnout of Black and Hispanic voters who supported his campaign.
In another bizarre moment of the meeting, Trump walked out for a few minutes to take a phone call and when he walked back in, told the room it “was your friend [Former President] Barack [Obama]” and said they have “a very good relationship.”
Later in the meeting, Trump told the room he listens “better to the African American people than anybody else,” including those at the meeting. Trump’s made similar claims in his press conferences, saying he’s done more for Black Americans than any president since Lincoln.