- Screenshot/The Guardian
A campaign chair for Donald Trump’s Ohio operation is reportedly no longer with the campaign after claiming in a recent interview that racism did not exist before President Barack Obama’s presidency.
The campaign chair, Kathy Miller, who was leading Trump’s effort in Mahoning County, also told The Guardian that “if you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault.”
“You’ve had every opportunity – it was given to you,” she told the newspaper. “You’ve had the same schools everybody else went to. You had benefits to go to college that white kids didn’t have. You had all the advantages and didn’t take advantage of it. It’s not our fault, certainly.”
A Trump representative told Bloomberg’s Joshua Green on Thursday that Miller resigned from the campaign shortly after the comments circulated.
Miller provided a statement to Green, calling her statements from the Guardian interview “inappropriate.”
“My personal comments were inappropriate, and I apologize,” she said. “I am not a spokesperson for the campaign and was not speaking on its behalf. I have resigned as the volunteer campaign chair in Mahoning County and as an elector to the Electoral College to avoid any unnecessary distractions.”
Mahoning County, the home of Youngstown, Ohio, was one of the hardest-hit areas in the Rust Belt by the exodus of manufacturing jobs from the region. More than 6,000 Democrats in the county switched party affiliation for this year’s primary, reportedly to support Trump, per The Guardian.
The county also has a large black population, constituting 16% of its total. That’s larger than the statewide and national averages.
But Miller played that down in the interview, saying black people tend not to vote because of “the way they’re raised.”
“I don’t think that’s part of the way they’re raised,” she said. “For us, I mean, that was something we all did in our families – we all voted.”
She also dismissed the racial tensions of the 1960s, when she said she was in high school, saying there “was no racism” and she “never experienced” segregation.
“I don’t think there was any racism until Obama got elected,” she said. “We never had problems like this … Now, with the people with the guns, and shooting up neighborhoods, and not being responsible citizens, that’s a big change, and I think that’s the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America.”
Miller also called the Black Lives Matter movement “a stupid waste of time,” later adding that the media was “making stuff up” when writing that Trump might be exploiting prejudiced views among some voters.
“He’s very willing to talk about issues that have never been discussed publicly,” she said.
Trump on Wednesday held an African-American outreach event at a church in nearby Cleveland, where boxing promoter Don King repeatedly used the word “Negro” and accidentally said “n—–“ during his introduction of the Republican nominee. Trump and a couple of people seated behind King seemed to smile at the comments.