With Donald Trump, one is forced to continually wonder if he is really as detached from reality as his daily pronouncements suggest or if he’s just blustering, as he so often does. He has declared that he’s going to win the votes of all the major demographic groups — blacks, women, Latinos — and now the person in charge of outreach to black voters seems to think he can not just win that demographic, but dominate it.
This rare concession from the infamously blunt billionaire and his powwow with the pastors are part of what his allies describe as an ambitious effort to win over the majority of black voters.
Like so many claims made through the course of Trump’s presidential campaign, his boasts about his ability to appeal to the African-American electorate seem grandiose and even a bit detached from reality. Yet in an election cycle where it’s been foolish to dismiss or underestimate Trump, Yahoo News is taking a closer look at his African-American outreach strategy and the unusual collection of allies helping him curry favor with that community. They include a Jewish Democrat, a familiar face from the 2012 campaign who had a particular affinity for the number nine, and a Harlem minister who has focused on battling “homo demons” and exposing President Obama as a Kenyan-born “Muslim.”
People in Trump’s orbit stress that all final decisions come from the man himself. But Michael Cohen, a longtime member of Trump’s inner circle, is helping to lead the unusual outreach effort. Cohen, who is Trump’s lawyer and an executive vice president at the Trump Organization, is a rather unlikely fit for the role of campaign minority outreach consultant. Cohen has no official role on Trump’s campaign and isn’t being paid by it, which has led to questions about whether he’s legally permitted to do political work on behalf of his boss. He’s also a self-described registered Democrat with Long Island roots. Still, Cohen says he’s working to “coordinate” Trump’s work to woo the black community.
When asked how much of the African-American vote the campaign wants to win, Cohen had a perfectly Trumpian answer: All of it. “Our goal is 100 percent,” Cohen said before modifying himself. “Or to flip what has historically been the Democrats’ 93 percent. That’s Mr. Trump’s goal.”
If he got 10%, that would be a major accomplishment. But listen to this bizarre statement from Cohen:
According to Cohen, Trump needs to win black voters because other minority groups won’t support him: “The truth, yeah, I’m trying to coordinate it because I am mindful of the fact that, you know, there are coalitions and I’m talking about now like Hispanic coalitions that … will not support Trump,” Cohen explained. “And that’s OK because the ones that don’t like Trump aren’t even here legally and they can’t vote, so it doesn’t really matter, right? And I understand their point of view. They’re — they do not want to be asked to leave right? And go back where? Go back to their homes? You know they don’t want to. So I understand.”
Wait, what? You have to win the black vote because you’re not going to get the votes of Hispanics who aren’t allowed to vote anyway? In what alternate universe is that statement not moronic? Almost as moronic as the claim that all the Latinos who can’t vote don’t like Trump but all the ones who can adore him. Seriously, did this guy get his law degree from Billy Bob’s Law School and Bait Shop?