During a speech as part of his "thank you" victory tour, President-elect Donald Trump thanked black voters for not turning out to vote for former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
"They didn’t come out to vote for Hillary," said Trump to a predominately white crowd in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 15, reports the Hill. "They didn’t come out. So thank you to the African-American community."
Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in a historic upset by a mere 44,000 votes, according to the Reading Eagle. He is the first Republican presidential nominee to secure the state since 1988. The win was instrumental in his path to the White House.
The state defied previous turnout trends, surprising electoral forecasting experts. White, working class voters that either usually stayed home on election day or voted Democratic turned out in record numbers to support Trump.
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"You, the American people, will finally be in charge again," said Trump to the boisterous crowd. "Your hopes and dreams and aspirations will no longer fall on deaf ears. The forgotten men and women of our country will not be forgotten anymore."
He then went on to thank the African-American voters who stayed home on election day. Trump had some of the lowest levels of support among black voters of all Republican presidential nominees in the past four decades, according to The Washington Post.
He attempted to appeal to African-American voters by touting an anti-establishment message, saying that the government has failed them.
"I talk about crime, I talk about lack of education, I talk about no jobs. And I'd say, what the hell do you have to lose?" Trump said of his strategy during his Hershey speech.
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Clinton secured 89 percent of the African-American vote while Trump only managed to garner 8 percent, according to The Hill. But Clinton's lead among black voters was less than President Barack Obama's in 2012. Obama won the black vote from 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney 93 percent to 6 percent.
Voter turnout among African-Americans was also smaller in 2016 compared to 2012. Trump said during a victory speech in Michigan that black voters didn't turn out "because they felt good about me."
He continued, saying that if African-Americans "had any doubt, they didn't vote. And that was almost as good."