Black women were among President Trump’s earliest critics during his campaign. For many, Trump’s recent attacks on former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman have confirmed those thoughts.
In new her book, "Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House,” Manigault Newman alleges that Trump has used the n-word. She also calls him a “racist, misogynist and bigot.”
Responding to Manigault Newman’s media appearances for the tell-all, Trump tweeted Tuesday that Manigault Newman was a “dog.” It was one of nearly 10 tweets over several days attacking Trump’s fellow reality-show star and someone who was formerly the highest-ranking black staffer in Trump’s presidency.
Black women were one of the groups who feared most what could come of a Trump presidency. In exit polls from Election Day, 76 percent of black women said they were “scared” of a Trump win. And in a Gallup poll the summer before the election, 72 percent of black women said they “strongly agreed” that they were afraid of what would happen if their preferred candidate did not win the election.
This is in part why Manigault Newman’s presence on the campaign and in the White House was so important to Trump. Some of the most frequent and enduring attacks on the president since he launched his campaign have been that he is racist and sexist. Given that perception, some black women feel affected on two fronts by Trump’s vision to make America as “great” as it was in times past.
The number of black women on Trump’s attack list continues to grow. They include such people as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), White House correspondent April Ryan, media maven Oprah Winfrey, former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, former national security adviser Susan E. Rice and former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile.
Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) found herself attacked by the president last year when she told media outlets that Trump told Myeisha Johnson, whose husband Sgt. La David Johnson was killed when dozens of armed militants ambushed U.S. and Nigerien troops, that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.” The president responded by calling the lawmaker “wacky” and dishonest. Wilson and Johnson are both black women. To Wilson, Trump’s language toward Manigault Newman was the latest example of the president’s lack of respect for black women.
Other responses to the president’s tweet flooded in.
Attorney and radio host Midwin Charles suggested that the language Trump directs toward black women is a public safety issue, considering how much some Trump supporters are willing to make the president’s personal enemies their own. She tweeted:
Trump supporters joined the president in attacking Manigault Newman, and many downplayed allegations of racism and sexism. For others, the episode confirms some of their greatest fears — that his pledge to improve the lives of Americans does not include all Americans.