Michael Steele, the first Black chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), didn't mince words in criticizing former President Donald Trump for his controversial remarks at a Black Conservative Federation gala, saying Trump reminds him of a "1950s redneck" because he talks about Black voters "as if they're not there."
Last week, Trump told the black-tie event that his four criminal indictments have garnered increased support among Black Americans, portraying himself as a victim of discrimination:
“I got indicted for nothing, for something that is nothing."
"And a lot of people said that’s why the Black people like me, because they have been hurt so badly and discriminated against, and they actually viewed me as I’m being discriminated against. It’s been pretty amazing but possibly, maybe, there’s something there.”
Trump, who received a “Champion of Black America” award at the event, told the audience that he was "thrilled to be here tonight with Crooked Joe Biden’s absolute worst nightmare: hundreds of proud, Black, conservative American patriots."
You can hear what Trump said in the video below.
Speaking on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday, Steele expressed skepticism about Trump's ability to garner support from Black voters. He highlighted the lack of substantive engagement from Trump, citing his history and communication style when addressing Black communities.
You can hear what he said in the video below.
Steele questioned Trump's approach, stating:
“With Trump, there is nothing there substantively because of his own history that would tell me that I would have something to gain with him. That’s been proven time and time again as you listen to him talk to Black people as if they’re not there.”
"When I hear him say ‘the Black people,’ it reminds me of some 1950s redneck who is referring to them, ‘other,’ even though they’re in the room.”
Steele went on to say that Trump "thinks so little of the Black community that he [believes he] can get our vote with giving us greater access to menthol cigarettes and a nice pair of gold lamé sneakers," referring to the "Never Surrender High-Tops" Trump introduced at "Sneaker Con" recently.
He called Trump and the GOP's actions "pandering BS" because they are not addressing fair housing and health and educational disparities in Black neighborhoods or the heightened "mortality rate among Black women and babies."
Many echoed Steele's criticisms.
Steele also shared a grim view of the Republican Party's prospects, saying it has learned how to "grind yourself down as a national party into the dust of nothing because the reality as it is … there is no real runway here to sustain a long-term growth prospect for the Republican Party with Donald Trump as its head.”
The GOP "has spent the last eight years systematically taking out the leadership that could win," he observed, noting that "candidates that could win are losing in primaries."
Steele offered further criticisms of Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who could serve as the RNC's next co-chair, saying the RNC "is now going to be controlled by" Lara Trump, who has vowed to spend “every single penny” on RNC funds to re-elect her father-in-law.
The "reality" where Trump is concerned, said Steele, is that "everything he touches does die."