Trump says 'the Black people' like him because he's been 'discriminated against' in the legal system

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former President Donald Trump claimed that Black people like him because he has faced discrimination in the legal system, which is something they can relate to.

"I got indicted a second time and a third time and a fourth time, and a lot of people said that that’s why the Black people like me, because they have been hurt so badly and discriminated against, and they actually viewed me as I’m being discriminated against," he said.

"I’m being indicted for you, the American people. I’m being indicted for you, the Black population. I am being indicted for a lot of different groups by sick people, these are sick, sick people," Trump said Friday night in a speech at the Black Conservative Federation's annual gala, at which he received the "Champion of Black America" award.

Trump, throughout his nearly two-hour speech, suggested his support from Black Americans stem from their understanding of how corrupt systems can lead to "great evil."

"Some of the greatest evils in our nation's history have come from corrupt systems that try to target and subjugate others to deny them their freedom and to deny them their rights," Trump said. "I think that's why the Black people are so much on my side now because they see what's happening to me happens to them."

Trump said Black Americans showcased their support for him through their embrace of merchandise emblazoned with his mug shot.

"My mug shot — we’ve all seen the mug shot, and you know who embraced it more than anybody else? The Black population," Trump said. "You see Black people walking around with my mug shot, you know, they do shirts and they sell them for $19 apiece. It’s pretty amazing — millions by the way."

Trump appeared at the event with other Black Republican politicians, including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Reps. Wesley Hunt of Texas and Byron Donalds of Florida, and Ben Carson, who was Trump's Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump at the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial in New York City on Jan. 11, 2024. (Shannon Stapleton / Getty Images file)
Former U.S. President Donald Trump at the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial in New York City on Jan. 11, 2024. (Shannon Stapleton / Getty Images file)

Adam Wasolis Sr., 33, from the Bronx, New York, said he agreed with Trump's characterization of his appeal to Black voters.

"I definitely understand why some Black men may feel they resonate with his issues, because most of the issues that have plagued black men were legal issues," said Wasolis, who is vice chair of the New York Young Republican Black Caucus.

Ahead of the gala, Jasmine Harris, the Biden campaign’s Black media director, called Trump an "anti-Black tyrant" and "the proud poster boy for modern racism."

"This is the same man who falsely accused the Central Park Five, questioned George Floyd’s humanity, compared his own impeachment trial to being lynched, and ensured the unemployment gap for Black workers spiked during his presidency," Harris said.

"Donald Trump has been showing Black Americans his true colors for years: An incompetent, anti-Black tyrant who holds us to such low regard that he publicly dined with white nationalists a week after declaring his 2024 candidacy," she added.

Trump, for his part, called Biden a "racist" Friday night.

"Joe Biden really has proven to be a very nasty and vicious racist. He's been a racist," Trump said. "Whether you like it or don't like it. I happen not to like it. Joe Biden really has proven to be a very nasty and vicious racist. He's been a racist. ... Biden spent years palling around with notorious segregationists, you know that."

The Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment on Trump's remarks.

Biden served with segregationists including former South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond, and he has touted his ability to compromise with them. This week, Biden said he had served with "real racists" in in his long career but that the current Republican Party was worse.

"I’ve served with Strom Thurmond. I’ve served with all these guys that have set terrible records on race. But guess what? These guys are worse. These guys do not believe in basic democratic principles," he said at a fundraiser in California.

Trump's comments come as his allies prepare to launch an effort to deliver a historic chunk of the Black vote to Republicans in the 2024 elections.

"We have coalition groups across the country that are set to roll out initiatives very, very soon in those communities, that will focus on voter outreach and engagement and things like messaging in Black communities," Darrell Scott, a Black Ohio-based pastor who is a Trump adviser and helping lead the effort, told NBC News.

Organizers for the Black Conservative Federation said during their event that they're mobilizing groups nationwide in hopes of ensuring Trump wins the majority of the Black male vote in a general election matchup against Biden.

"I believe that President Trump is going to get 50% of the Black male vote," Black Conservative Federation President Diante Johnson said. "The Democratic Party has literally pushed Black men aside."

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com