The first presidential debate Monday night had no end of zingers and mic-drops — thankfully the mics were bolted to the podiums — but in the spin room, former Apprentice contestant and current director of African-American outreach for the Donald Trump presidential campaign, Omarosa Onee Manigault, thinks her boss #nailedit in the first presidential tête-à-tête.
“I thought he did an excellent job,” Omarosa tells Bustle. “I’m so proud of the fact that he’s authentically connecting with African Americans in ways that Republicans have never done.”
Trump has faced an uphill battle with African American voters, and over the past several weeks has made outreach to black voters a priority in his campaign. Despite this, Trump’s numbers with African Americans have been historically low; a Fox News Poll from the end of July and beginning of August showed Trump’s support among African Americans at just 1 percent.
When asked about Trump’s poor polling numbers in the African American community, Omarosa pushed back. “No way, he’s not single digits, you need to check your numbers,” she says. “I want you to go look at the USC poll that recently came out, where we’re clearly 16, 17 percent; that’s more than any Republican candidate.”
“That’s in fact McCain and Romney combined,” she added, referring to the lackluster performance of previous Republican presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney.
The LA Times/USC Dornsife tracking poll, which polls 400 voters a day out of a pool of about 3,000, showed a spike earlier in the month in support for Trump, putting him at nearly 20 percent with African American voters. It seems, however, that the spike was a “blip,” with support later dropping back down to single digits, where it had been for much of the campaign. As of Sept. 26, the tracking poll numbers had risen again for Trump, giving him 14.4 percent of the vote, however the recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll had Trump’s support among African Americans at just 5 percent.
Still, Omarosa doubles-down on Trump's talking points that criticize the Democratic party. “The Democratic Party has taken for granted the African-American community for so long,” Omarosa tells Bustle, adding that Trump is “making a whole-hearted effort to connect with the community.”
“Her, on the other hand,” Omarosa says, referring to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, “her support of African Americans has dropped to 84 percent from 93, so she should be very worried.” Omarosa seemed to be referring to Obama's capture of 93 percent of the black vote in the 2012 election.
Emily Shire contributed to the reporting of this story.
Image: Emily Shire/Bustle (1)