Donald Trump’s Harlem Bodega Stunt: A Misguided Attempt to Woo Black Voters.

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( Donald Trump must think Black people are idiots. This week, while Trump is forced to remain in New York for his hush-money criminal trial, his re-election campaign staged a carefully orchestrated photo op at a bodega on the outskirts of Harlem.

They billed it as Trump‘s triumphant visit to the Black community but it was anything but that. Just like his visit to a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta last week, this event was completely fake and staged.

Donald Trump's Harlem Bodega Stunt: A Misguided Attempt to Woo Black Voters.

Trump’s motorcade drove up Broadway to 139th Street to visit the bodega owner, who stabbed and killed a Black man in the summer of 2022. He wanted to troll Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who is prosecuting the criminal case against Trump.

Of course, the one time Trump comes anywhere near Harlem is to celebrate the killing of a Black man, much the same way he celebrated Kyle Rittenhouse, the white vigilante who killed two Black Lives Matter protesters in Wisconsin four years ago.

But just as we saw with the AI-generated images of Trump hanging out with Black people and his scripted Chick-fil-A visit in Atlanta, the right-wing media and Trump’s social-media minions are desperately trying to gaslight us. They want us to believe that Trump is actually beloved in the Black community.

Not exactly.

This week’s photo op took place at 139th Street and Broadway, far from the heart of Black Harlem. And even there, Trump was booed mercilessly by the real people in the community, who weren’t allowed to get close to the staged event.

If Trump really wanted to meet with real Black Harlemites, he should have walked down 125th Street, where the city councilman knows him well. Council member Yusef Salaam was one of the five wrongly convicted Black and brown teenagers whom Trump targeted for lynch-mob execution in 1989, when they were accused of raping a white woman. Even after the actual rapist confessed to the crime and DNA evidence exonerated the “Central Park Five,” Trump refused to apologize to the men whose lives he ruined.

Despite all that, there are still some Black people who support Trump — even in Harlem and Atlanta. In fact, at least 14 of them were my neighbors when I lived in New York City. But these Black Trump supporters are a tiny sub-section of the community and completely unrepresentative of the opinions of the overwhelming majority of African-Americans.

I lived in Harlem for more than 20 years, and in the precinct where I voted in 2020, 97% of my neighbors voted for President Joe Biden. Only 2% supported Trump. Yet former Trump aide and Fox Business anchor Larry Kudlow this week made the ridiculous, baseless claim that Trump would actually win the entire community of Harlem and all of New York State in the 2024 election.

I’ve known Kudlow for 15 years, going back to my days at CNBC in New York, and I would be surprised if he had visited Harlem any time recently. But Republicans don’t care about the truth. They just make their own reality to gaslight the rest of us.

Remember, Trump once went to a nearly all-white community in Michigan and made the outlandish promise that he would win 95% of the African-American vote in 2020. He didn’t even come close.

What’s particularly insulting is that Trump‘s cynical campaign tactics rely on outdated stereotypes. Black people will support him, he claims, because he’s been indicted and has multiple mug shots. Or because he’s selling $400 gold sneakers. Or because he visits a chicken joint in Atlanta or a bodega in Harlem.

Pretty soon he’ll be giving out grape soda and menthol cigarettes at NBA games.

To be sure, all politicians pander to voters. Just watch a candidate force down a fried twinkie at the Iowa state fair. But usually that pandering comes with a side of policy.

For all the talk about white politicians’ virtue-signaling to Black voters —Hillary Clinton’s hot sauce in her purse, Bill Clinton’s saxophone playing on a Black talk show, or Nancy Pelosi’s donning kente cloth and taking a knee — they did actually support affirmative action, DEI, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, raising the minimum wage, expanding health care coverage, reducing student loan debt, and banning assault weapons. Trump and the Republicans oppose all of it.

In fact, when it comes to substance, Republicans aren’t even trying. They’re phoning it in because the expectations are so low that even one Black person saying a nice thing about Trump is now considered breaking news in the right-wing ecosphere.

Written by Keith Boykin

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