Donald Trump duly hit back at Jay-Z on Sunday, after the rapper rejected the idea the Trump presidency has been good for African Americans and called the president a “superbug” in a discussion of his reported racist remarks.
Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, appeared on CNN’s The Van Jones Showon Saturday night.
Asked how he felt when Trump reportedly called African countries “shitholes”, Jay-Z said: “Yes, it’s disappointing and hurtful. Everyone feels anger. After the anger, it’s really hurtful because he’s like looking down on a whole population of people.”
The rapper said Trump’s reported comment – which the president has denied – was “how people talk … behind closed doors”.
He then compared the remark, allegedly made in a meeting with senators, to a recorded conversation involving the then LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling which cost him control of the NBA team in 2014.
Sterling’s public downfall, Jay-Z said, led “all of the other closet racists [to] just run back in the hole”.
“You haven’t fixed anything,” he said. “You have sprayed perfume on the trash can. What you do when you do, that is the bugs come. You spray something and you create a superbug because you don’t take care of the problem.
“You don’t take the trash out, you keep spraying whatever over it to make it acceptable. As those things grow, you create a superbug. And then now we have Donald Trump, the superbug.”
Jay-Z qualified his remark by saying: “I’m being funny, I say that, too.”
But he said: “Somewhere along his lineage, something happened to him. Something happened to him and he is in pain and he is expressing it this sort of way.”
Jones than asked the rapper about Trump’s claim, made repeatedly on Twitter, to have dropped African American unemployment to record lows.
“Does he have a point,” Jones asked, “that maybe the Democrats have been giving us good lip service, but no jobs. He may say terrible things, but putting money in our pockets. Does that make him a good leader?”
Jay Z answered: “No, because it’s not about money at the end of the day … money doesn’t equate to happiness. It doesn’t. That’s missing the whole point. You treat people like human beings … that’s the main point.”
On Sunday morning, the president tweeted: “Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!”
The fact-checking website Politifact says claims by Trump and members of his administration including his daughter about African American unemployment are “right on the numbers but leave out economic gains … under Democratic control”.
According to government figures, African American unemployment dropped to 6.8%, a historic low, in December 2017. But it did so, like Hispanic American unemployment, having “declined dramatically on Barack Obama’s watch”.
Later on Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Jones, a former Obama adviser, commended Jay-Z and said “we had a very powerful moment there”.
He added: “Apparently, Trump missed the whole point and actually walked right back into the trap.
“Now it’s trending globally … look, it’s great PR for the show but it’s bad for the country when you have a president who wants to lecture an African American rapper and an African American pundit about African American issues with bad facts and no information about the show.”
Trump’s remarks about black unemployment, Jones said, were “not enough to make up for ‘s-hole’ countries. That’s not enough to make up for insulting black football players, saying all of our communities are terrible”.
In his interview with Jay-Z, Jones also asked if, given that Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s daughter Blue Ivy visited the Obama White House, would the couple’s new twins, Sir and Rumi, visit Trump?
“No,” said Jay-Z. “Not a shot. We won’t be invited, first of all.”
To Jones’s suggestion that Trump could be “the first hip-hop president”, because he was “getting beast with people … I like bling … I got a plane”, the rapper demurred.
“He [Trump] doesn’t have the struggles, right?” he said. “That’s the key. That’s the key.”