Trump Says He Has ‘So Many Black Friends,’ He Can’t Be Racist

Former President Donald Trump defended himself in a recent interview against those who think he’s racist, saying he can’t be because he has “so many” friends who are Black.

“I have so many Black friends that if I were a racist, they wouldn’t be friends, they would know better than anybody, and fast,” he said in an interview with Semafor published Friday. “They would not be with me for two minutes if they thought I was racist — and I’m not racist!”

Several Black male celebrities came to his defense in separate interviews with the news outlet. Those men included heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, retired MLB slugger Darryl Strawberry, boxing promoter Don King, and former NFL star Herschel Walker, who lost a 2022 Senate race in Georgia.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Black Conservative Federation Gala on February 23 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Black Conservative Federation Gala on February 23 in Columbia, South Carolina. Sean Rayford via Getty Images

Trump listed his “strength” and others’ desire to be like him as reasons that these men speak so warmly about him.

“They see what I’ve done and they see strength, they want strength, okay,” Trump said. “They want strength, they want security. They want jobs, they want to have their jobs. They don’t want to have millions of people come and take their jobs.”

Trump’s response follows a long history of race-baiting. In the late 1980s, the now-presidential candidate called for the death penalty in full-page advertisements, after five Black New York teens were accused of rape. (All were later exonerated.)

More recently, after President Barack Obama’s election, he helped spearhead a conspiracy that the first Black U.S. president was born in Kenya and not the U.S. He defended attendees of the infamous white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as “very fine people.” He indiscriminately smeared Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S. border as criminals and rapists and he championed a ban on migrants from several Muslim-majority countries.

Despite his public history of judging and persecuting others, Trump told Semafor that he thinks he appeals to a lot of Black men because they can relate to his legal struggles, which he’s called unjust and discriminatory. Trump became the first former American president to be convicted of felony crimes last month.

“They see what’s happening. And a lot of them feel that similar things have happened to them. I mean, they’ve expressed that to me very plainly and very clear. They see what’s happened to them,” he told Semafor.

The Trump and Biden campaigns have been increasing their efforts to sway Black voters ahead of November, meeting with Black business leaders, community groups and faith centers.

Recent polls have shown that Black voters still overwhelmingly support President Joe Biden over Trump, though the difference has narrowed a bit from where it was four years ago.

In one poll published last month by the Pew Research Center, 18% of Black voters said they would vote for Trump while 77% said they would vote for Biden. That support for Trump is more than double what it was during the 2020 election, when 8% of Black voters supported him.