On Wednesday morning, boxing promoter Don King offered a spirited endorsement of Donald Trump during a speech in a largely black church in his hometown of Cleveland. Speaking while Trump watched on behind him at the New Spirit Revival Center, King at one point let a racial slur slip.
Here's video of Don King accidentally dropping the N-word while introducing Donald Trump at a Cleveland church pic.twitter.com/HK4FWpVEC0
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) September 21, 2016
Here’s a transcript of that portion of King’s speech:
Here is a partial transcript of what Don King just said with Donald Trump behind him. pic.twitter.com/HFAUisjAeI
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 21, 2016
King’s slur invoked very different reactions from Trump and his white advisors on one hand, and people in attendance on the other.
For instance, check out the reaction of Trump’s top military advisor, retired U.S. Army Gen. Michael Flynn, compared to the woman sitting next to him:
Compare the reactions of Gen. Flynn and the woman he’s sitting next to when Don King uses the n-word. pic.twitter.com/IKZ7edDU0S
— Philip Bump (@pbump) September 21, 2016
Compare Trump's reaction to Don King dropping the n-word to the guy in the upper right pic.twitter.com/C8a7DNBjvK
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 21, 2016
King’s case for Trump boils down to him thinking it’s important “to knock the system.” During his speech, he compared the unequal treatment of African Americans with that of women, saying both are “the left outs.”
“Donald Trump says no, we are going back to inclusiveness, everybody counts,” King said. “That’s why when I see them try to ridiculize [sic] him, or to try and ostracize and pervert, I want you to understand, every white woman should cast their vote for Donald Trump. Not for Donald Trump the man, but to knock the system, to help him to get their rights and be able to deal with it.”
Trump, who later Wednesday in Cleveland will partake in a Sean Hannity-hosted Fox News town hall focusing on on “African-American concerns,” told the crowd he invited King to travel with him.
Trump says he invited Don King to travel with him to Cleveland pic.twitter.com/1pDUU1uSHH
— Matt Wright Fox 8 (@mattwrighttv) September 21, 2016
Around the same time he was making headlines for his racist attacks on a Latino federal judge earlier this summer, Trump cited King’s endorsement as evidence he’s not bigoted.
Don King, and so many other African Americans who know me well and endorsed me, would not have done so if they thought I was a racist!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2016
In July, King, who was convicted of manslaughter for killing a man who owed him money on a Cleveland street in 1966 (he was later pardoned by a Republican governor), was barred from the Republican National Convention.
Trump’s outreach efforts to black communities have consisted of telling them their lives are terrible and can’t really get worse, so why not vote for a Republican for a change? During a speech Tuesday night in North Carolina, Trump said “African American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they’ve ever been in before — ever, ever, ever.”
TRUMP: "African American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they've ever been in before—ever, ever, ever." pic.twitter.com/SdnuZFnbBN
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 21, 2016
Trump’s comments ignore the history of slavery in America, the fact urban crime rates have steadily declined for two decades, that African American poverty rates are currently the lowest in a decade and far lower than at other times in history, and the rise of the black middle class.