Donald Trump has claimed that he has done “more for minorities” than Barack Obama during his time in office.
The president spoke briefly to reporters before departing the White House for Tampa, Florida, on Friday when he was asked for his reaction to Mr Obama’s recent comments regarding the administration and voter suppression.
“He did a bad job for minorities. I did much more for minorities than he did,” Mr Trump responded.
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Mr Obama seemingly indirectly accused the administration of voter suppression during his Eulogy for John Lewis on Thursday, accusing “those in power” of “targeting minorities”.
“But even as we sit here, there are those in power are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting — by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the Postal Service in the run-up to an election that is going to be dependent on mailed-in ballots so people don’t get sick,” Mr Obama said.
In response, the president reiterated that he had done more for “any group” in America than Mr Obama during his time in office.
“You’ll see I did a much better job than Obama did by far for African Americans for Asian Americans for women for any group you look at. Far better than Obama did,” he said.
Mr Trump evidenced his claims by seemingly referring to unemployment rates before the pandemic hit.
“And if you look at our number prior to the plague coming in and those numbers will soon be back,” Mr Trump said.
Unemployment rates among black Americans have risen to 16.7 percent since the onset of the coronavirus, and communities of colour have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
While the president claims that numbers prior to the pandemic “will soon be back”, rates have risen to historic levels throughout the pandemic with approximately 32 million people currently receiving unemployment assistance.
The president’s comments also come amidst continued national civil unrest in the country following the death of George Floyd, with protests against systemic racism and police brutality breaking out in all 50 states.
Ongoing demonstrations have been met with militant federal force in an attempt to quell the unrest. Videos of police beating and gassing protesters, hitting people with cars, and harassing and attacking journalists have been widely shared online since they began.
On Friday, Mr Trump threatened Portland protesters with “very strong offensive force” as the federal government and residents continue to clash in the city.
“If it doesn’t clear up, we’re going to do something very powerful,” the president said a day after he warned protesters there that he dubbed “terrorists” he is poised to send in National Guard troops.
“We have no choice,” he said, because “the left-wing extremists have spread mayhem throughout the streets of different cities.”
However, Mr Trump has maintained on a number of occasions that he and his administration have gone above and beyond for minority groups in comparison to other presidents.
In early June, the president claimed he and his administration have done more for African Americans than “any president since Abraham Lincoln,” insisting that the “BEST IS YET TO COME”.
Mr Obama on the other hand has reportedly criticised Mr Trump for his “nativist, racist, sexist” rhetoric in fundraising calls for Joe Biden‘s presidential campaign.
“What he has unleashed and what he continues to try to tap into is the fears and anger and resentment of people who, in some cases, really are having a tough time and have seen their prospects, or communities where they left, declining,” the former president was reportedly quoted to have said on a zoom call by sources close to him according to The New York Times.
“And Trump tries to tap into that and redirect in nativist, racist, sexist ways,” Mr Obama reportedly added.
Mr Trump has repeatedly spoken publicly against widespread mail-in voting in November’s presidential election despite the spread of coronavirus, claiming without evidence that it will lead to an increase in voter fraud.
The Trump campaign is yet to respond to The Independent’s request for comment on these reported remarks.