Trump Fried Chicken

Keith Boykin

Just because one Black person at a fast food restaurant says nice things about Donald Trump, that doesn’t mean that the rest of Black people support him

By Keith Boykin, Word In Black

Guest Column

Years ago, when I worked for President Clinton, activists would often call me to complain about the administration’s policies. But when the same activists were invited to meet the President at the White House, the tone of their objections inevitably changed when they spoke to him in person.

There’s something about proximity to power and celebrity that makes people much more polite when they’re in the presence of powerful people than when they’re not.

We need to stop grading Donald Trump on a curve.

That’s the best possible explanation I can come up with for the reaction of Chick-fil-A workers and customers when Donald Trump stopped at one of the company’s restaurants in Atlanta today. “I don’t care what the media tells you, Mr. Trump, we support you,” one Black woman told him.


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It could be that the twice-impeachedquadruple-indicted presidential candidate just happened to meet the few Black people in Atlanta who support him all at the same place at the same time. Or it could be they were just being polite. Either way, it’s not representative of the Black community in Atlanta, in Georgia, or the rest of the country.

We need to stop grading Donald Trump on a curve. Just because one Black person at a fast food restaurant says nice things about him, that doesn’t mean that the rest of Black people support him. But expectations are so low for Trump and Republicans that just going to a fast food spot and speaking to a handful of Black people is considered remarkable African American outreach.

The truth is that Black people are the one demographic group most opposed to Trump’s presidential campaign. But in America, Black people carry an unfair burden of representation so that the actions of any one Black person, however unrepresentative, can and will be used against us.

The irony is that the comment at Chick-fil-A came from a Black woman, and Black women — notwithstanding Candace Owens — are the least supportive demographic group of Donald Trump. Ninety percent of Black women voted for Joe Biden in 2020, and 94 percent voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Only four percent of Black women supported Trump in his race against Clinton.

In the state of Georgia,  percent of Black women voted for Biden, and only seven percent voted for Trump.

Black women’s opposition to Trump is understandable. Trump, after all, appointed the three right-wing Supreme Court Justices who killed affirmative action in college admissions in 2023 and overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. And when Black women created a private “Fearless Fund” to help other Black women start businesses, it was two Trump-appointed federal judges who struck it down.

After spending five and a half years spreading unfounded rumors about the first Black president’s birth certificate, Trump came into office in 2017 and tried unsuccessfully to repeal Obamacare, a popular program that helped nearly three million Black Americans obtain health insurance coverage from 2011 to 2019.

When Democrats tried to expand Medicaid coverage, a state-run program that disproportionately helps Black people, Trump and the Republicans tried to block that as well, even though 15 million African Americans were enrolled in Medicaid.

Meanwhile, as President Biden has canceled $146 billion of student loan debt for more than four million borrowers, Trump’s Republican colleagues have gone to court to try to block this financial lifeline that disproportionately helps young Black people.

When Democrats tried to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, it was Trump and his Black Republican friend, Senator Tim Scott, who killed the bill.

When Democrats tried to pass the much-needed John Lewis Voting Rights Act, it was Trump’s Senate Republican co-conspirators in Congress who blocked it.

Moreover, Trump has spent the past five years attacking the nation’s most prominent Black women, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Representatives Maxine Waters and Ilhan Omar, and journalists Yamiche Alcindor and April Ryan. Not to mention, he’s been launching vicious personal attacks against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Atlanta.

If nothing else, Trump is a relentless salesman. The guy who’s trying to hawk $400 gold sneakers and $60 Bibles is now using his celebrity to sell himself to white people by pretending to be a friend of Black people so white people won’t feel so guilty about supporting him after decades of racism.

But Black people can see right through his desperate strategy. Just because he said hello to some Black people at a chicken joint doesn’t make him Colonel Sanders. It makes him the panderer-in-chief.

“Black Vote, Black Power,” a collaboration between Keith Boykin and Word In Black, examines the issues, the candidates, and what’s at stake for Black America in the 2024 presidential election.

Keith Boykin is a New York Times–bestselling author, TV and film producer, and former CNN political commentator. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, Keith served in the White House, cofounded the National Black Justice Coalition, cohosted the BET talk show My Two Cents, and taught at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University in New York. He’s a Lambda Literary Award–winning author and editor of seven books. He lives in Los Angeles.