*You were wondering why there were so many Black folks at Donald Trump’s balcony address at the White House on Saturday? Turns out Candace Owens reportedly paid for some of their travel to be a part of her simultaneous BLEXIT “Back the Blue” rally.
ABC News reported that the controversial conservative’s BLEXIT group, a campaign urging Black Americans to exit the Democratic Party, foot the bill for some Black people to attend the event, which was Trump’s first public briefing since testing positive for COVID-19. Attendees were asked bring a mask and to fill out a form that notified them that BLEXIT would cover their costs, in addition to having to take a COVID-19 test the morning of the event, ABC reported.
“We are not interested in participating in your obvious media angle here to slander/attack the president regarding COVID-19,” Owens told ABC News, adding that the event was about “supporting law enforcement in minority communities.”
While Owens never made a secret out of the fact that her organization paid for some travel, writing in an Instagram post on October 1 that the group would be “giving away a limited amount of travel stipends to those who really [need] them,” the ABC report has prompted some online to accuse Owens of using black people as paid “props” for “racist” Trump and endangering their lives in the process.
“They’re paying Black people to risk their lives as props for the COVID-infected racist president,” former Clinton’s foreign policy spokesperson Jesse Lehrich tweeted.
“She should be held accountable if any of them get sick. You’re flying people to be infected. And for what?” tweeted Elon James White, comedian, founder and editor in chief of This Week in Blackness.
Faced with the criticism, Owens admitted that “a small group of attendees who asked for financial help” were provided with “travel stipends.” She then tried to gaslight Dems by painting the criticism as “mocking people who are struggling financially.”
“Um… yes. We had a small group of attendees who asked for financial help to make the event so we secured travel stipends for them. Mocking people who are struggling financially is the weirdest, most elitist, Democrat flex— possibly ever,” she tweeted in response to writer Jonathan Capehart’s retweet of the ABC story.
Her attempt to flip the script didn’t work, as the mostly partisan criticism simply escalated. One commenter argued that “paying financially struggling people to attend an illegal campaign rally to massage trump’s ego is what’s ‘elitist.’”
Below, watch Trump brown-nose Owens during his WH speech, beginning at the 1:48 mark.