Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump participates in a roundtable discussion with African American business and civic leaders, Sept. 2, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pa. 
Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Trump: African Americans in the worst shape ‘ever, ever, ever’

For several weeks, Donald Trump has worked from a curious assumption: the way to appeal to African Americans is to tell them their lives are miserable and their communities are in ruin. Black voters, the argument goes, will hear this, believe him, overlook his troubled history on race, and support his campaign.

There’s literally no evidence Trump’s plan is working, and his ad-libs on the stump tend to make things worse.
Donald Trump on Tuesday escalated his rhetoric on the state of America’s minority communities, telling a [North Carolina] crowd that “places like Afghanistan are safer” than some U.S. inner cities.

“We’re going to rebuild our inner cities because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before. Ever, ever, ever,” Trump assessed.
His arguments about crime and Afghanistan are wrong, but those are just garden-variety factual errors for Trump. It’s his historical claims that are more alarming.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but for Trump to believe African-American communities are “in the worst shape that they’ve ever been” – “ever, ever, ever” – he’d have to overlook practically all of American history.

One need not be a scholar to be familiar with generations of slavery, discrimination, state-sanctioned bigotry, red-lining, lynchings, segregation, and Jim Crow laws.

When reporters sought clarification from the Trump campaign as to what in the world the Republican candidate was talking about, aides didn’t respond.

Some claims, evidently, can’t be spun.