President Donald Trump was “pandering” to Black and Latinx Americans during his White House speech on Saturday in a bid to get their votes just weeks before the election, Fox News anchor Arthel Neville told viewers.
The president stood on a balcony to address several hundred supporters gathered on the South Lawn on Saturday afternoon in his first in-person event since he revealed he had tested positive for coronavirus.
The rally was organized by Black conservative commentator Candace Owens and former Arizona police officer Brandon Tatum’s Blexit Foundation.
Touted by the White House as a “peaceful protest for law and order,” Trump told the crowd: “You just marched to the White House because you understand, to protect the lives of Black Americans and all Americans, you have to have your police support you.”
He also claimed Joe Biden, his Democratic rival in November’s election, had “betrayed” Black and Hispanic Americans during his time in office and that his “law and order” campaign is necessary to help them feel safe.
Analyzing the event on Fox, Neville noted that at 18 minutes, the speech was “really short” for the president.
She added: “The president was pandering to the Black and Latinx Americans, garnering… or wishing to garner their support this election. And he also made sure to say that he is pro-jobs, pro-workers, pro-law and order.”
A new Pew Research Center poll found Trump is trailing Biden by wide margins among Black, Hispanic and Asian voters. Biden leads Black voters by 81 percentage points, Hispanic voters by 34 points and Asian voters by 53 points, according to the results of the survey, released on Friday.
Neville also noted that there were around 500 people at the event, citing reporters on the ground, far fewer than the 2,000 guests that were reportedly invited.
Fox host Eric Shawn gave credit to the president for not coughing during the speech. “Look, most importantly he looks fine. He sounded good. He seemed in good spirits and good humor and he didn’t cough,” he noted.
“Does that image of looking like his normal self go a long way in this campaign?” Shawn asked the network’s guests.
Brad Blakeman, who was an advisor to former President George W. Bush, replied: “You bet it does. And it also shows that the president is leading by example.”
Blakeman claimed Trump’ case showed the “survivability of the virus” shouldn’t prevent people from living their lives.
“To think that we’re going to shut down our country, shut down our lives. The president is right. The cure is worse than the disease if we allow ourselves not to be able to live life,” he added.
But at this point, Shawn called Trump “a coronavirus president” and noted that the public did not know the results of the president’s latest test. In a memo released on Saturday night by the White House, Dr. Sean Conley said Trump was no longer at risk of transmitting the coronavirus, but did not say explicitly whether he had tested negative for it.
Matt Bennett, formerly a deputy assistant to former President Bill Clinton, disagreed with Blakeman’s assessment, and said that holding the event was “breathtakingly reckless” and that Trump’s conduct since contracting the virus has been “incredible irresponsible.”
“I couldn’t disagree more with Brad,” Bennett said. “This is exactly not what the leader of this country should be demonstrating to the public.”
He added: “Look, we have lost 210,000 Americans. COVID has killed more than most of the other major causes of death combined.
“He exposed his own Secret Service to an unbelievable risk by driving around… in a sealed up car with two Secret Service agents who were wearing gowns and face shields and masks because he was in the throes of serious COVID at that moment. That is incredibly irresponsible. And it goes to show exactly how he has led us into this mess. He has done nothing to lead.”