Donald Trump delivers "thank you to the African-American community" who "didn't come out to vote"

"Black voters were smart and they picked up on" anti-Hillary Clinton rhetoric, Trump told his mostly white crowd

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published December 16, 2016 5:50PM (EST)

 (Getty/Gregg Newton)
(Getty/Gregg Newton)

President-elect Donald Trump continued his post-election victory tour with an extra bit of trolling Thursday.

Speaking before what the Associated Press described as a mostly white crowd in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Trump thanked the "smart" African-Americans who "didn't come out to vote."

Trump was the first Republican to win the commonwealth in over 30 years.

While overall turnout was up from 2012 — from 5.6 million to over 6 million — the racial composition of the electorate was significantly different in Pennsylvania this year. Clinton won 92 percent of African-Americans, just a point behind Obama's 93 percent in 2012, according to exit polls. But in 2012, black voters made up 13 percent of the overall electorate, while in 2016, they comprised only 10 percent of the electorate.

In contrast, white voters accounted for 81 percent of the 2016 electorate, up from the 78 percent of the electorate they comprised in 2012.

In terms of raw votes, that means that roughly 130,000 fewer African-Americans voted in Pennsylvania in 2016 than voted in 2013. Trump won Pennsylvania by less than 45,000 votes.

"That was the big thing, so thank you to the African-American community," Trump said Thursday.

Trump credited his "famous" pitch to black voters: "What the hell do you have to lose?"

His message seemed to imply his belief that black voters were wise to stay home, instead of taking the expected course of voting for a Democratic candidate.

"And they’re smart and they picked up on it like you don’t believe, and you know what else, they didn’t come out to vote for Hillary, they didn’t come out," Trump said as his called for applause:

At several points throughout his campaign, Trump called on his rally attendees to organize themselves into vigilante election-integrity monitors at polling places in “certain areas."

“You’ve got to go out, and you’ve got to get your friends, and you’ve got to get everybody you know, and you gotta watch the polling booths,” Trump said at a rally outside of Philadelphia in October. “I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of — you know what I’m talking about."

A judge was later forced to smack down Pennsylvania Republicans' attempt to have so-called citizen poll-watchers from across the state to flood urban polling precincts.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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African American Vote Black Voters Donald Trump Election 2016 Pennsylvania Video