Donald Trump’s visit to the historically black Benedict College today could have offered our infamously racist president an opportunity to undo some of the divisiveness he has been sowing for the past few years by engaging directly with students of color, listening to their concerns, and internalizing what he heard. Instead, he used the trip to rant and stroke his ego in front of a room packed with sycophantic allies.
The State newspaper reports that while there were roughly 300 tickets available for the event, half of the seats were stuffed with Trump administration allies and guests. The remaining 150 tickets or so were made available on an invite-only basis to locals. A measly ten tickets were provided to Benedict students, a clear sign that the administration either has no interest in speaking to young Black scholars or realizes that few of them would have been interested in attending a pseudo-rally for this cryptofascist president.
According to Maayan Schechter of The State, while nine students confirmed that they would be attending the event, ultimately only seven ended up going because two of them had to go to ROTC training. President Trump may brag that he has done wonders for the Black community, but his actions and the lukewarm response he receives from voters of color makes it clear that there is little love lost.
Was able to get an updated # from Benedict College:
Am told by college spokeswoman that 9 students had been confirmed to hear Trump's remarks, but 2 students had ROTC training.
So 7 Benedict students were attending the event. https://t.co/3mGRF7V3zk
— Maayan Schechter (@MaayanSchechter) October 25, 2019
The decision to invite Trump to speak in the first place was met with understandable backlash.
“What an unexpected, unpleasant situation for students, the community and many citizens of this state to experience after his insensitive remarks regarding being ‘lynched’ by the Democratic Party. What a hell of a statement to make,” reads a statement from President of the South Carolina NAACP State Conference, Brenda C. Murphy.
Aforementioned criticisms aside, the students who didn’t attend really didn’t miss out on much. Trump engaged in his usual aggrieved rhetoric and railed against the impeachment inquiry that threatens to topple his presidency and cement his legacy as the worst, most corrupt president in American history. If you have the stomach for it, you can watch part of his speech below, replete with the obsequious forced laughing from the MAGA toadies in attendance.
During speech at criminal justice reform event, Trump complains about "the witch hunt" which he says "has been going on for longer than I'm in office." He then mentions "Strzok & Page – the lovers. The great lovers." His audience laughs at him as if he's doing a comedy routine. pic.twitter.com/sVDEBbeyxC
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 25, 2019