The volunteer chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Mahoning County, Ohio, resigned after telling a journalist from The Guardian that there was “no racism” in the United States before Barack Obama became president and that black Americans who are not financially secure have only themselves to blame.

“If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault. You’ve had every opportunity, it was given to you,” said Kathy Miller, a white woman.

“You’ve had the same schools everybody else went to. You had benefits to go to college that white kids didn’t have. You had all the advantages and didn’t take advantage of it. It’s not our fault, certainly.”

Miller also called the Black Lives Matter movement “a stupid waste of time” and said lower voter turnout among African-Americans could be a function of “the way they’re raised.” She said these things to Guardian journalist Paul Lewis during a filmed investigation into the shifting political alliances of blue-collar workers in rust belt areas of Ohio, many of whom are former Democrats now intending to vote for Trump.

In the exchange, Lewis suggests that Trump’s candidacy has allowed a long-submerged racism in the United States to “slip above the surface.”

A debate among self-identifying left-leaning Americans over whether bigotry or economic disenfranchisement is driving Trump’s political success is the focus of media discussions about the upcoming presidential election. The report by Lewis and his colleagues, which can be seen in the 11-minute clip above, confirms that for at least some Americans, the two issues go hand in hand.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

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