Does it really matter that former Black cast members from The Apprentice reality TV show held a press conference last week to collectively call Donald Trump’s presidential campaign racist?
I don’t think so.
While I commend the former Apprentice stars for speaking their mind and sharing their thoughts about the Trump campaign’s bigotry, I wasn’t clear about their end game. Were they hoping to derail Trump’s campaign?
One of the cast members, Season One runner-up Kwame Jackson, said Trump does not have the right “temperament” to be president and said Trump appeals to the “to the lowest common denominator of fear, racism and divisiveness in our populace.”
“Let us choose Kennedy over Kardashianism,” Jackson said.
Season 4 winner Randal Pinkett said Trump’s campaign is all about hatred.
“We acknowledge Donald’s success as a businessman, and genuinely appreciate the opportunity The Apprentice afforded all of us,” Pinkett said in a statement. “We, however, strongly condemn Donald’s campaign of sexism, xenophobia, racism, violence and hate.”
The Black cast members make a strong case for the Trump campaign’s racial divisiveness. That is clear. But most Black folks aren’t voting for Trump anyway. The Trump loyalists who are already supporting Trump are not going to be persuaded to dump Trump because several Black former Apprentice stars blasted the Republican presidential frontrunner.
Meanwhile, Trump met Monday with a diverse group of Americans, the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, which included African-Americans, Muslims, Latinos, and Asians.
Omarosa Manigault, vice-chair of the coalition and the most visible Black former member of The Apprentice, said Monday on MSNBC that more than 600 people of color showed up to support Trump.
Still, let’s not forget a few critical facts: The KKK is reportedly recruiting members using Trump as an outreach tool.
Trump has called Mexicans “rapists,” and a Black man was kicked, punched and called the N-word by Whites at a Trump rally last year.
Trump says he would like to “punch” protestors at his rallies and once said he would consider paying legal fees for John McGraw, 78, who was arrested for sucker-punching a Black protester, Rakeem Jones, 26, during a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
And last year, a group of African-American students from Valdosta State University in Georgia were abruptly herded out of a Trump rally while some of the students angrily complained that racial epithets were hurled at them by whites attending the rally.
If the “Apprentice” press conference was designed to highlight the Trump campaign’s ongoing disrespect for people of color, I get it. But if the event was held to slow Trump’s roll, I think their strategy failed.
According to polls, Trump is poised for a huge win in the New York primary on Tuesday and he’s leading in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland, which will hold primaries on April 26.
Trump hosted The Apprentice and its celebrity spin-off edition from 2004 through early 2015. In a statement last week calling out those who staged the press conference, Trump predictably described the former Apprentice contestants as “failing wannabes out of hundreds of contestants.”
“How quickly they forget. Nobody would know who they are if it weren’t for me,” Trump said. “They just want to get back into the limelight like they had when they were with Trump. Total dishonesty and disloyalty.”
I’m not convinced the press conference was only about the visibility as some have suggested, but in the long run, the former contestants will quickly fade from the media spotlight and Trump, sad but true, could emerge as the Republican nominee for president anyway.