President Donald Trump could not pass an opportunity to brag about his election victory, even during a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
On his tour Trump was accompanied by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who is one of three Black members of the Senate. After thanking the senator for attending the museum with him Trump said, “I like the state of South Carolina. I like all those states where I won by double, double, double digits. You know, those states.”
On Election Day Trump defeated his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, 54.9 percent to 40.7 percent. For the Republican primary Trump received 33 percent of the vote; Sen. Marco Rubio came in second place at 22 percent. President Trump won the electoral college vote by 77,000 votes scattered across three states (less than 1 percent in each state) and lost the national vote by close to 3 million.
In addition to Scott, Alveda King,Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece; retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Trump’s Housing and Urban Development secretary nominee; and Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, joined Trump at the museum.
Last week Trump also took an unexpected opportunity to boast about his election victory.
During a joint news conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House last Wednesday, Trump was asked by a reporter to comment on the recent increase in anti-Semitic and racist incidents in the U.S.
“I just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had, 306 Electoral College votes. We were not supposed to crack 220, you know that, right There was no way to 221. Then they said there’s no way to 270. There was tremendous enthusiasm out there,” Trump said, as reporters appeared baffled at his response.
The president did eventually address the question, saying broadly that “we are going to have peace in this country. We are going to stop crime in this country. We are going todo everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on,” adding, “As far as people, Jewish peopleso many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now, a son-in-law and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you’re going to see a lot different (sic) United States of America over the next three, four, or eight years. You’re going to see a lot of love.”
Trump has struggled to win the support of the Black community since he was on the campaign trail. Exit polls from the election show that he garnered 8 percent of the Black vote, compared to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 88 percent. In 2012 former President Barack Obama received 93 percent of the Black vote, compared to Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 7 percent.
In December Trump thanked Blacks who didn’t go out to vote, calling them “almost as good” as the ones who voted for him, who came through for him “big league.”
“The African American community was great to us. They came through, big league. Big league,” he said at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “And frankly if they had any doubt, they didn’t vote, and that was almost as good because a lot of people didn’t show up, because they felt good about me.”
During a breakfast recognizing Black History Month Trump made some questionable comments, including bringing up inner cities and seeming to imply that civil rights icon Frederick Douglass is still alive.
“I am very proud now that we have a museum where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things,” he said. “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”
In September, while still campaigning for the presidency, Trump’s request to visit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, was rejected after the campaign was allegedly rude to museum staffers and made special requests that the museum would not accommodate.
Also around that time, Trump incorrectly referred to the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture as “the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, African American Art.”