WASHINGTON — VH1 and MTV host Sway Calloway said Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has a chance of winning the African-American vote in the general election but has to do “some work” within the black community to chip away at Hillary Clinton’s support.
Trump has mentioned the unemployment rate in the African-American community as an issue that requires more attention. Sway, who has interviewed the most prominent names in hip-hop, was asked if he thinks Trump could win a substantial portion of the African-American voting bloc in the general election.
“African-Americans like any other American would like to make more money, have more stability, see a more robust job market and I think any candidate that speaks to those issues has a chance of winning that vote. And whether you are African-American, Asian-American, Latino-American, Caucasian-American, I think every American would like to see those areas improved so you can never say never. Anytime anyone said ‘OK, Trump wouldn’t be able to pull this off,’ he’s pulled it off. So, ‘OK he said what about women? That’s going to hurt him,’ and it hasn’t hurt him,” Sway told PJM at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington.
“He said, what about building walls, are you kidding me, and not allowing Muslims in the country? That hasn’t hurt him so I have seen stranger things with Trump and so perhaps he can — he will get some of the African-American vote. There are African-Americans that do support him as long as he speaks on policy that’s relatable to them. Will he get the majority? He’s going to have to come do some work, I think, in that community, in order to get the majority. Hillary is really strong in the African-American community. He can try to chip away at part, but I think she definitely has more support than he does at this time,” he added.
Sway, who has interviewed President Obama in the past, said Trump made a “smart” strategic move by attempting to appeal to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) supporters.
“Trump is being very strategic in suggesting that Bernie even run as a third-party candidate, suggesting that he runs as an independent, saying that he and Bernie stand for some of the same issues, repeating some of the things that Bernie said — that’s very strategic and smart of Trump to do that and create that divide in the Democratic Party. Will it be successful? We’ll have to see, but I think Trump has been very smart in that regard, strategically, in trying to capitalize off of Bernie’s supporters,” he said.
As Sanders (I-Vt.) walked past the red carpet at the event, this reporter started to ask him a question. His wife started to walk over to the camera, but Sanders threw his hands up and walked away.
Sway said there are some questions he would ask Sanders at the dinner if he had the chance.
“Will he still come out and support the party and support Hillary? Is he going to go to the convention and make sure that some of the things that are important to him are being heard? Is he going to go fishing in Niagara Falls or skinny dipping in Cancun? I mean, what is he doing to do?” he said. “I appreciate him because he’s really a man of the people and he embraced a lot of folks that came from hip-hop culture and gave them a voice like Killer Mike, different people that have been on the road with him, Talib Kweli— different guys he has embraced that most politicians haven’t.”
PJM asked if Trump might try to court hip-hop star Nicki Minaj, since there was some confusion surrounding a line from one of her verses that referenced 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“I’m a Republican, voting for Mitt Romney; You lazy b***hes is f****** up the economy,” she rapped on the song “Mercy” in 2012.
“Here’s a secret. You can’t believe everything you hear in a rap record,” Sway said.
In response to comments Obama made about the lyrics, Minaj later tweeted out, “Ha! Thank you for understanding my creative humor & sarcasm Mr. President, the smart ones always do. *sends love & support* @BarackObama.”
Sway, who hosts The Wake Up Show on Sirius XM radio, told PJM his interview with President Obama in October 2012 is his most memorable next to Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.
“The Tupac interview, had I known he was going to pass away soon after, I might have done it a lot differently. I learned a lot from that. Same with Notorious B.I.G. We did his last interview. We posted that on Sway’s Universe, my Youtube channel, but interviewing any president in the White House live on TV — I don’t know how I am going to top that one,” he said.