The Westside Gazette bills itself as “Broward County’s oldest and largest African American owned-and-operated newspaper.” For five decades, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. weekly has catered to a staunchly Democratic readership.
So when readers opened an edition last month to find a full-page ad from President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, many couldn’t believe it. Why would he even bother?
“I thought it was quite abnormal,” said Bobby Henry, the newspaper’s publisher and CEO. He said a reader sought him out at church last weekend to ask what was up. “For [Trump] to reach out to the broader African American community is what surprised me.”
Yet that’s precisely what Trump is doing.
The president’s reelection campaign has spent $1 million in an effort to make inroads with black voters, and more is coming, according to a person with direct knowledge of the planning. The initiative, dubbed “Black Voices” by the campaign, so far has included ads in black-run newspapers and on radio stations, volunteer training seminars and a kickoff event hosted by Trump in Atlanta last month.
The Trump ads tout low unemployment among African Americans, Trump’s support for historically black colleges and universities, and the White House-backed criminal reform legislation that passed earlier this year.