Gaffe Track: Trump: 'Look at My African American Over Here!'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The candidate: Donald Trump

The gaffe: “Look at my African American over here!” Trump said in Redding, California, pointing to a man in the crowd. The comment came as the Republican nominee predicted strong black support and noted that an African American supporter had slugged a protestor at a previous event.

The defense: Despite sounding like a hilarious bowdlerized version of a rap lyric, this is in some ways genuine progress. Trump typically speaks about African Americans only as an abstract, distant group, and he usually uses the definite pronoun “the” rather than the possessive “my.”

Why it matters (or doesn’t): Trump is pioneering new levels in “Did he really say that?” Less offensive than some of his comments this week, this one is just jaw-droppingly weird. It’s not a coincidence that 89 percent of black voters in a recent CBS/New York Times poll backed Clinton, versus just 5 percent for Trump.

The lesson: If Trump wants more than one black supporter, he must refine his approach.