A campaign chair for Donald Trump’s Ohio operation claimed in a recent interview that racism did not exist before President Barack Obama’s presidency.
The campaign chair, Kathy Miller, who is leading Trump’s campaign in Mahoning County, also told The Guardian “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 spokesperson told Bloomberg’s Joshua Green Thursday that Miller was removed from the campaign shortly after the comments circulated.
Mahoning County, home of Youngstown, Ohio, was one of the hardest hit areas in the rust belt by the exodus of manufacturing jobs from the reason. More than 6,000 Democrats in the county switched party affiliation to reportedly support Trump in the primary, per the Guardian.
The county also has a large black population, constituting 16% of its total. That’s larger than the statewide and national average.
But Miller played that down in the interview, saying that they don’t tend 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 neighbourhoods, 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 confidants seated behind King seemed to smile at the comments.
Watch her comments below: