Trump Ignites Black Conservative Support at Gala in SC


Jordan Meadows

Staff Writer

The Black Conservative Federation (BCF) Gala held in Columbia, South Carolina on Friday marked a significant gathering of some of the nation’s most prominent Black conservatives. The event aimed to underscore former President Donald Trump’s appeal to Black voters. Trump delivered the keynote address.

The strategic timing of the event, one day before the South Carolina Republican primary, aimed to address a state with a significant Black population and set the stage for a broader effort to secure Black votes in the 2024 elections.

According to the latest AP-NORC poll in December, while approval among Black Americans for President Biden is trending downward – decreasing over 30% since July 2021 – only a quarter of them said they have a favorable view of Trump. In 2016, just 6% of Black Americans voted for Trump, slightly increasing to 8% in 2020.

In December 2023, a GenForward survey showed that almost one in five Black Americans would vote for Trump. 

The gala featured a notable lineup of prominent Black political voices, including representative Wesley Hunt of Texas, Vice President of BCF Quenton Jordan, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson. Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., was also in attendance. 

“I hope CNN is back there somewhere because we have a room full of Black conservatives!” President of the BCF Diante Johnson said. 

Johnson claimed that in the 2020 election, former President Trump secured 20% of the Black vote and predicted a historic increase to 50% in the forthcoming 2024 general election.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina took the stage, aligning his remarks with the evening’s theme: the American Dream Story. He shared how his journey serves as a testament to the ideals of the American dream, emphasizing that hard work can make it a reality for anyone.

While not officially declaring his candidacy for the position of Trump’s Vice President, he conveyed unwavering loyalty and support to the former president. Senator Scott endorsed Trump for the upcoming primary elections scheduled for the following day.

CJ Pearson, a conservative commentator and candidate for the Georgia State House, conveyed a Southern evangelical pastoral atmosphere to resonate with Black Americans, particularly in discussions about politics and socioeconomic issues. 

“I first got involved in the conservative movement when I was just 12 years old because I knew then what I know now: that the color of my skin should not dictate my politics,” Pearson said. “The black community was destroyed by the Democrat party, now it is time for our community to destroy the Democrat party.”

Florida’s US Representative Byron Donalds introduced Trump, outlining the leadership qualities that the former president could embody.

“Real leadership isn’t always nice but it’s funny. Real leadership sometimes isn’t cuddly but it gets the job done. And when you have real leadership, our families can thrive, our communities can thrive, our states can thrive and this nation thrives,” Donalds said. 

Trump’s speech at the gala showcased a carefully crafted mix of his typical campaign rhetoric – including the 2020 election results, foreign policy, and immigration – with appeals to the Black community, even drawing attention to his administration’s achievements in comparison to his predecessor, Barack Obama. 

“I have to tell you, Black president, but I got $1.7 billion less,” Trump said. “Would you rather have the Black president or the white president who got $1.7 billion off the price? I think they want the white guy,” Trump said as the crowd of Black conservatives cheered. 

Throughout the nearly two-hour address, Trump showed little concern for the primaries, as he scarcely referenced his opponent – once chuckling at a joke that labeled Haley as a Neoconservative. Instead, he focused on the general election in November, criticizing and repeatedly mentioning Biden’s past comments and actions dealing with race.

In a confident tone, Trump attributed the gain in support to what he perceives as the Democratic Party’s failure to adequately address the needs of Black communities while framing his four criminal indictments as evidence of being a victim of discrimination, drawing parallels to the historic legacy of anti-Black prejudice in the US legal system. 

“I got indicted for nothing, for something that is nothing,” Trump told the attendees. “And a lot of people said that’s why the Black people like me, because they have been hurt so badly and discriminated against, and they actually viewed me as I’m being discriminated against.” 

While Trump received cheers from the gala crowd, his remarks faced sharp criticism from Democrats. Former Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, co-chair of Biden’s reelection campaign, called Trump’s claims insulting, moronic, and racist. 

His primary opponent, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley labeled Trump’s speech as “disgusting,” reflecting the deep political divide surrounding Trump’s messaging.

“That’s what happens when he goes off the teleprompter. That’s the chaos that comes with Donald Trump,” Haley said in response. 

The most unexpected stance taken by Trump pertained to the recent Alabama Supreme Court decision on in vitro fertilization. This fertility method involves combining an egg with sperm in a lab and then placing the resulting embryo inside a uterus, often utilized by families facing difficulties conceiving naturally. The court ruled that these embryos possess personhood, comparable to fully formed human babies. 

The day after the ruling, several clinics halted their IVF services. Trump openly opposed the ruling just before the event and continued throughout, contending that it would adversely impact individuals striving to conceive. Although there was minimal support from the crowd, he called on the Alabama legislature to pass a law that would allow IVF services, a position that has been historically unpopular in the Republican party. 

On Saturday, Trump defeated Nikki Haley in the South Carolina Primary by roughly 20 percentage points. Trump defeated Haley in Michigan on Tuesday as well. Haley has stated she will stay in the race until Super Tuesday on March 5th when 16 states and territories, including North Carolina, Texas, and California, will cast their ballot. 

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