Over 80% of black Americans say Trump has made racism worse

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Donald Trump 'has taken hatred against people of color, in general, from the closet to the front porch,' one poll respondent said.

Donald Trump is racist and has made racism in the United States worse, according to the overwhelming majority of African Americans in a Washington Post poll released on Friday.

When asked directly whether Trump is a racist, 83% of black Americans said yes, with just 13% saying no. Another 4% had no opinion.

Asked if Trump had made racism a bigger or smaller problem in the United States since taking office, 83% said Trump had made it a bigger problem, 2% said he'd made it smaller, and 15% said Trump had made no difference or didn't share an opinion.

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The poll comes just ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which celebrates the life and accomplishments of the iconic Civil Rights hero.

Since the beginning of his tenure, Trump has struggled to gain the approval of the black community. His decision to hire a white supremacist as a top White House adviser and his referral to neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville as "very fine people" did nothing to help his cause.

Trump has "taken hatred against people of color, in general, from the closet to the front porch," one respondent told pollsters this week. Another respondent said Trump had "created an atmosphere of division and overt racism and fear of immigrants unseen in many years."

In 2018, Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and several African nations as "shithole countries," saying the United States should instead "bring more [immigrants] from countries such as Norway," according to the Washington Post. In 2019 he repeatedly attacked black Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who was born in Somalia and who Trump suggested should "go back" to her home country, a common racist trope.

In rallies and statements, Trump often points to historically low African American unemployment as a key reason black voters should support him.

"The African American people have been calling the White House," Trump said in July 2019. "They have never been so happy at what a president has done. Not only the lowest unemployment in history for African Americans, not only opportunity zones for really the biggest beneficiary, the inner cities, and not only criminal justice reform, but they're so happy that I pointed out the corrupt politics of Baltimore. It's filthy dirty, it's so horrible, they are happy as hell."

Trump was referring to his racist attacks on the late Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, whose home district Trump claimed was a "disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess."

According to this week's Post poll, only 1 in 5 respondents believe Trump deserves credit for the unemployment number, while 77% say he deserves less credit.

"I don't think [Trump] has anything to do with unemployment among African Americans," Ethel Smith, a 72-year-old nanny from Georgia, told the Post. "I've always been a working poor person. That's just who I am."

The lack of Trump support from black Americans has is echoed in previous polling. In a September CNN poll, just 3% of African American women approved of Trump's job performance. A July Hill-Harris poll showed Trump's approval rating among African Americans at just 13%.

The Post poll also looked at potential 2020 matchups, showing African Americans overwhelmingly supporting any potential Democratic nominee over Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden came out on top, defeating Trump by a 82% to 4% margin among African American voters if the election were held today. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) came in second and third, respectively, followed by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

In each of those matchups, Trump never received more than 4% support.

When asked about President Obama, 73% of Post poll respondents said he was good for African Americans, with only 5% saying he was bad.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.