Trump has history of insulting Black history and communities, says senior Democrat on Juneteenth

Donald Trump has been attacked over his record of insulting Black America and Black-majority cities by Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Harrison launched his broadside against the Republican presidential contender on Juneteenth, the federal holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War.

“Trump is a lot of things but he certainly isn’t subtle – all of the cities he denigrates have one important thing in common: they all have significant Black populations,” he said in a statement to The Daily Beast.

“Whether it’s Milwaukee, Philly, Detroit or Atlanta, Trump isn’t just insulting 97 square miles on a map, he’s insulting Black communities, Black history, and Black voices.

“He’s telling us exactly what he thinks of Black Americans, and we’re listening.

“That’s why when we go to the polls on November 5, we’re going to vote for someone who respects Black communities, who uplifts Black voices, and who commemorates Black history. We’re going to vote for President Joe Biden.”

Harrison’s comments come after Trump provoked an outcry by reportedly referring to the Wisconsin city of Milwaukee as “horrible” just a month before it hosts the next Republican National Convention at which the candidate will formally accept his party’s 2024 presidential nomination and finally announce his running mate.

Speaking at a rally in Racine in the same state on Tuesday, Trump was forced to U-turn on his criticism by telling his audience: “I love Milwaukee. I was the one that picked Milwaukee. These lying people. They say, ‘Oh, he doesn’t like Milwaukee’. I love Milwaukee. I said, ‘You gotta fix the crime’. We all know that.”

Former US president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during his latest campaign event in Racine, Wisconsin, on June 18, 2024 (Reuters)
Former US president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during his latest campaign event in Racine, Wisconsin, on June 18, 2024 (Reuters)

His claim that it was he who chose the city for the convention, rather than the Republican National Committee, has since been denounced by Milwaukee mayor Cavalier Johnson on CNN as “a complete fabrication”.

Trump certainly has a track-record of denigrating Black-majority cities, attacking the late Maryland Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings in July 2019, for instance, by calling Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess”.

He tweeted of Cummings: “If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.”

Subsequently placed under pressure over those remarks, Trump doubled down and told reporters: “Those people are living in hell in Baltimore. They’re largely African American. You have a large African American population. And they really appreciate what I’m doing, and they’ve let me know it.”

He also used the occasion to insist he was “the least racist person in the world”, overlooking his many years of harsh rhetoric on immigration.

Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison (Anna Moneymaker/Getty)
Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison (Anna Moneymaker/Getty)

In the aftermath of his defeat in the following year’s presidential election, Trump listed Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta in a Twitter rant about President Biden winning votes in cities “long known for being politically corrupt!”

Trump has previously come under attack over Juneteenth specifically.

Four years ago, he held a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a day after the commemoration, despite being strongly advised against it because of the possibility of the mass gathering becoming a super-spreader event at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and because the city had been the scene of a notorious racist massacre in 1921 in which 36 people were killed when white rioters laid siege to a prosperous area of town then nicknamed “the Black Wall Street”.

Sure enough, at least six campaign staff involved in the event subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus, 12 Secret Service members were forced to self-quarantine, the number of daily cases in the state tripled in the 30 days following it and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died from complications after contracting the virus after attending.

Trump continues to insist he enjoys strong support among America’s Black communities and eagerly posts photographs of himself with Black supporters on Truth Social.

However, his most recent attempt to engage with the demographic saw him speak at a “Black” church in Detroit on Saturday, an event derided by the likes of MSNBC’s Joy Reid for the overwhelming majority of white faces seen making up the congregation in press photographs and video footage.