The new face of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a black woman.
Trump, the frontrunner among Republican candidates in most national polls, has hired Tea Party loyalist Katrina Pierson as his high-profile surrogate. Pierson will appear frequently on national television news programs and she will become more universally recognized as Trump’s defender and, on occasion, perhaps even his translator on issues involving race.
At a time when few Republican candidates have visible Black media representatives, Trump has enlisted the media services of Pierson, an outspoken African-American who is known as a tough-talking conservative with a sophisticated presence.
Her critics, however, have told reporters that Pierson relishes the spotlight a bit too much and is driven by her own personal agenda. Some say her plans to start her own shoe and clothing line is a good example.
In hiring Pierson, Trump may be sending a not-so-subtle message that he supports women in key leadership roles – to generate votes from women – and that he’s comfortable with a Black spokeswoman – perhaps a nod to African-American voters.
“When Donald says, ‘I think you’re great, I really want you to work for me,’ I don’t think any sane person would say no to that,” Pierson said.
Well, that’s debatable.
But I do know this: Black voters will not suddenly rush to rally around Trump’s candidacy simply because he’s hired a Black woman in a top job. But I’m sure Pierson is hoping to persuade some other Black conservatives to throw their support behind Trump. Pierson once worked for Sen. Ted Cruz, another GOP presidential candidate who is lagging in the polls.
“Cruz would be a good president, but I think right now…Trump would be the better person to transition out of Obama,” she told POLITICO.
Pierson’s background isn’t what you’d expect from a Tea Party advocate and conservative Republican. She had a challenging upbringing. Her mother was just 15 years old when Pierson was born and they lived on welfare. Pierson also had a child at a young age and when her marriage ended in divorce, she became a single mother. But she overcame the obstacles, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology. She says she voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
But now Pierson is working for Trump.
“He’s sort of not politically correct,” Pierson told POLITICO. “He sort of calls it like he sees it. I’m kind of that way, too.”
Trump’s hiring of Pierson comes two months after Trump told members of the South Carolina African-American Chamber of Commerce that he is the only Republican candidate who can mobilize Black voters.
He pointed to a poll that showed him getting support from 25 percent of Black voters in a matchup against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
“Generally, Republicans do not do well with African-Americans,” Trump told an audience in September. “I have a lot of friends, African-Americans in New York, they say, ‘You’re going to get most of the vote.’ I was actually disappointed with the 25 percent.”
But there are many polls that show dismal results for Trump with Black voters. Most political observers do not share Trump’s optimistic view of Black support.
“Katrina is a great addition to our team as we continue to expand throughout the country,” Trump said in a statement. “Katrina understands the need for real change in Washington, D.C., and the importance of competence in the next election.”
So now, with Pierson taking over as the face of the Trump campaign, perhaps Trump believes she can help rally Black people in his bid for the White House.
I seriously doubt it.
What do you think?