ESPN's Stephen A. Smith Reveals He Knows Trump Is Not 'Racist' from Personal Experience


ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said on Monday at a media summit he does not believe former President Donald Trump is a “racist” as is commonly asserted by his political opponents.

Still, that did not stop the cohost of “First Take” from slamming the country’s 45th commander-in-chief as someone who he said “changed” after he ran for office.

At the Semafor Media Summit, Smith said he and Trump were relatively close before the latter launched his first presidential bid in 2015 and that they bonded over sports.

“I knew Trump before he ran for the presidency,” Smith said. “I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him. He was a huge sports fan.”

The ESPN personality recalled he was once invited to events held by Trump and he admired him.

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“He used to throw a lot of events at  — you know — at his casinos and stuff like that, and I genuinely liked him,” Smith said.

As for candidate Trump, Smith added, “I didn’t know who this guy was running for president.”

But he challenged any assertion Trump is “racist.”

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“I think he’s changed, but I will tell you this: I think when people call him racist and stuff like that, I’ve never thought of Trump that way,” Smith said.

The ESPN host said he had never once witnessed any evidence Trump held any animus toward black people.

Instead, he implied Trump is opposed to anyone who stands in his way.

“He’s not against black people,” Smith said. “He’s against all things not named Trump.”

Smith also said he’s not “beyond voting Republican” but declared he could never vote for Trump.

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Smith made headlines last May after he made the claim Trump was motivated to run for president after he was denied a bid to own the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

The ESPN host said Trump called him and to tell him if the league denied him the ability to own the team, he would run for president as retribution.

“If they screw me over … I am going to show them,” Smith said while paraphrasing comments he said Trump made. “I’m going to get them all back. I’m going to run for president of the United States.”

Smith said Trump’s vocal opposition to NFL players kneeling for the national anthem during his term in office was motivated by revenge.

“[The criticism] was him politicizing the situation for his own benefit to cause havoc for NFL owners who had screwed him over from becoming, from becoming an NFL owner and being a part of their club,” Smith claimed.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.