Skeptics deride Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's appeal to black voters as too little, too late — but a spokesman for the Republican National Committee said Monday that the party standard-bearer's outreach to communities of color is nothing new.
His evidence? Trump has allowed African-Americans to join his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
"In 1985, when he bought Mar-a-Lago and the liberals didn't let people join clubs because of color of their skin, it was Donald Trump that went out and bucked the establishment and fought to make sure that people no matter the color of their skin or their religion could join the clubs," Sean Spicer, the RNC's communications director, said in a CNN interview Monday afternoon.
Spicer, who also said Trump's policies would "lift people out of poverty" and promote educational opportunity for blacks, isn't the first person to cite Mar-a-Lago's membership policy as evidence of Trump's commitment to racial equality.
Trump himself made the argument in a March interview with the Washington Post.
"I mean there's nobody that has done so much for equality as I have. You take a look at Palm Beach, Florida, I built the Mar-a-Lago Club, totally open to everybody," Trump said. "A club that, frankly, set a new standard — a new standard in clubs and a new standard in Palm Beach — and I've got great credit for it. That is totally open to everybody."
While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned racial discrimination in public accommodations, it exempted private clubs.
However, Trump has faced allegations of violating civil rights statutes, settling a case with the Justice Department in the 1970s after being accused of housing discrimination against blacks.