Donald Trump was apparently pleased with the low turnout of Black voters in 2016.
According to leaked audio obtained by Politico and the Independent, Trump partly attributed his presidential victory to Black people staying at home during Election Day. He allegedly claimed the Black community refused to vote for his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, because they "liked" him, and pointed out that he received much more of the African American vote than the two previous Republican presidential nominees.
"I got many more votes than [Mitt] Romney, many more votes than [John] McCain … we ended up with 11 percent…" Trump reportedly said, "and I’ll tell you, it’s much more if you add — many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary [because] they liked me — that was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great."
The audio was reportedly recorded during a Trump Tower meeting, just days before the president's inauguration. The then-president elect was speaking to a group of Civil Rights leaders, whom he allegedly told: "I listen better to the African American people than anybody else. Anybody else in this room."
A number of experts have said the low voter turnout out the Black community likely attributed to Clinton's unexpected loss. Per FiveThirtyEight:
... Black voters made up 11 percent of voters who cast a ballot and 19 percent who didn’t. This disparity really hurt Clinton because Black voters (by 82 percentage points) and Hispanic voters (by 40 percentage points) overwhelmingly favored her, while white voters went for Trump by a 16-point margin in the SurveyMonkey poll.
White House spokesperson Judd Deere responded to reports of the newly leaked audio, insisting Trump has consistently advocated for equal treatment for all Americans and appreciates any support he receives from the Black community.
"Anyone who suggests otherwise is only seeking to sow division and ignore the president’s work for underserved communities," Deere said, "including during his time in office with groundbreaking criminal justice reform, the creation of Opportunity Zones, building the most inclusive economy in American history, and prioritising our nation’s HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) with permanent funding. The president is grateful for his support among black Americans, and their many contributions to helping make America great."