President Trump said he doesn’t feel a responsibility “at all” to try have a better understanding of the pain Black Americans feel, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward.
His comment came during an interview he had with Woodward on June 19, just weeks after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May sparked months of widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
In the discussion, which is one of nearly 20 interviews between Woodward and Trump that are referenced in the journalist’s book “Rage,” according to The Washington Post, Woodward presses the president about race.
At one point, the journalist – after pointing out a number of similarities Trump and he share, like race and age – suggests to the president that they have a duty to try have a better understanding of the “the anger and pain” Black Americans feel.
In response, Trump reportedly says, “No … You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”
Woodward presses Trump further about the topic, but, in response, Trump reportedly refers to how well the economy has fared for Black Americans under his administration. He also reportedly again reiterated his long-repeated claim of doing more for the Black community than almost any president in history.
Days after that conversation, Trump reportedly had another discussion with Woodward, who has released portions of audio of some of the interviews he has had with Trump that will be referenced in “Rage.” In that conversation, Trump is pressed for his thoughts on whether systemic or institutional racism exists in the United States.
“Well, I think there is everywhere. I think probably less here than most places. Or less here than many places,” he reportedly says in response, while also adding later that he thinks racism has an impact on Americans’ way of life, and that he thinks “it’s unfortunate.”
He reportedly talked with Woodward regarding race again roughly two weeks later. However, during that call, Trump spoke about not receiving enough support from the Black community.
“I’ve done a tremendous amount for the Black community. And, honestly, I’m not feeling any love,” he reportedly said during the conversation.
Trump has made efforts in recent months to win more support from African American voters ahead of the coming election, though a number of polls have shown Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has continued to enjoy much more momentum from the voting bloc thus far.
Trump has come under fire multiple times in the past for his rhetoric surrounding race since before taking office in 2017.
While Trump has repeatedly brushed off accusations of racism over the years, he has faced criticism in the past for the years he spent promoting the false “birther” conspiracy theory targeting former President Obama.
He also prompted a wave of backlash last year after telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to their countries, despite all of them being U.S. citizens, and for reportedly referring to African nations as “shithole countries” the year before.
Originally published: 2020-09-09 12:59:04