Shortly before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Donald Trump reportedly questioned why the United States would allow in immigrants from “shithole countries,” which, according to him, are Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations. Yet after disparaging these predominantly black countries, on January 16th, Trump falsely claimed that his approval ratings among black Americans had doubled.
Trump appeared to have gotten this information from a segment on his favorite cable news show, Fox & Friends, in which host Brian Kilmeade claimed that a 600,000-person survey showed that Trump’s “numbers have actually doubled” among black Americans. Kilmeade claims that the survey was solely about how black Americans viewed Trump, but in reality, all racial demographics were questioned in the survey.
The New York Times reports, however, that the findings of the survey Kilmeade referred to indicated that Trump’s approval among black Americans had decreased. While 20 percent of black people approved of Trump in February 2017, that number is now at 15 percent, the survey showed. Further analysis of the results in The Atlantic revealed that 23 percent of black men approve of Trump, while only 11 percent of black women do. Overall, the survey indicated that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump, while 42 percent approve.
Trump was right that fewer black Americans are unemployed than ever before. But, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has been shrinking among black Americans since 2015.
After Trump’s “shithole countries” remark, the president was widely accused of racism. CNN anchor Don Lemon began his broadcast the night of January 11th by saying “The president of the United States is a racist.” A U.N. human rights official disavowed Trump’s comments as racist as well. And Republican Representative Mia Love, who is Haitian-American, condemned Trump’s remarks as “indefensible.”
It’s not surprising that Trump would lie about his approval ratings; according to the Washington Post, he has told more than 2,000 lies in office. But by claiming that more black people approve of him than ever before, Trump (and Fox & Friends) is continuing a lie and mindfully forgetting his inexcusable bigotry. Instead of lying about how much people of color like him, Trump needs to learn to choose his words more carefully. Maybe then his approval ratings really will improve.