Trump campaign's big plans to attract Black voters goes up in smoke due to COVID-19 debacle: report
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According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the job of Donald Trump's campaign staffers to attract African-American voters, already seen as an uphill battle, has become more difficult as the coronavirus pandemic has hit Black Americans disproportionately.

It was already highly unlikely that Trump, who won just 8 percent of the African-American vote in 2016, would make inroads in the black community where he is deeply unpopular according to polling.

Nonetheless, Trump 2020 officials have been instructed by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner to make an appeal to African-Americans by explaining, "You’re never going to get the votes you don’t ask for.”

Early plans to run on the economy and low Black unemployment numbers have now fallen by the wayside due to the coronavirus health crisis that has rocked the United States and led to millions of losing their jobs.

"The president’s re-election message to black voters had relied heavily on a low unemployment rate and campaign outreach, including plans for neighborhood storefront offices," the Journal's Catherine Lucey and Alex Leary wrote. "Now with the nation under lockdown to contain the spread of the virus, Mr. Trump’s campaign is reaching out via phone, online and on video and emphasizing the administration’s pandemic response and record on issues like criminal justice reform."

Explaining the shift in strategy, Trump campaign senior adviser Katrina Pierson offered, "I would say that our engagement has shifted a little, but I wouldn’t say it’s hurting to the point where we’re losing ground. This president has a record that we are happy to tout, to prove to them that President Trump has been with them from the beginning.”

Considering presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's extreme popularity with African-American voters which propelled him past the Democratic field, Keith Williams, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus countered, "He [Trump] was going to have an uphill battle anyway. Joe knows us, and we know Joe.”

The report goes on to note that plans to open storefront offices aimed at Black outreach in the key states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin are now dead in the water during the pandemic.

With a Biden spokesperson pointing out African-Americans are “dying at higher rates and suffering steeper job losses, in part because Donald Trump refused to listen to experts early on to get the disease under control,” a spokesperson for the president fired back.

“What I see is a White House, bringing left and right together, to solve for issues in our community that have been historic but dealing with the direct problem of how we deal with Covid,” explained Ja’Ron Smith, deputy director of the White House’s Office of American Innovation.

According to recent polling, "... that surveyed some 900 registered voters, 84% of African-Americans disapproved of the job President Trump is doing, up from 81% that disapproved in March. And 70% of African-Americans thought Trump didn’t take the pandemic seriously enough at the beginning and was still not handling it well. Asked to chose between the president and his likely Democratic rival, 7% of that group supported Mr. Trump and 85% Mr. Biden, the poll showed."

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