Pa. Auditor General. Tim DeFoor, a black Republican, was not present at Trump’s rally in Philadelphia

When former President Donald Trump tried to attract black voters to North Philadelphia last week, the only elected black Republican in Pennsylvania’s state government did not show up.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Tim DeFoor, the first Black person to hold state office and the only Black Republican currently elected to the state legislature, has continually distanced himself from Trump.

DeFoor, who will seek a second term in November, said in a statement Tuesday he did not attend the Trump rally because he had an engagement planned before learning about the event. He said that “fully supports the Republican Party.”

When asked why he didn’t attend a Trump rally aimed at attracting black voters, DeFoor continued to avoid mentioning Trump’s name.

“I’m pleased to see our candidates reaching out to all communities with our message of fiscal restraint and safer neighborhoods,” DeFoor added. “We are a big marquee party and we welcome the support of all voters.”

While his GOP colleague, incumbent Treasurer Stacy Garrity, is an outspoken Trump supporter, DeFoor largely avoids talking about him. Last month, DeFoor also considered joining the centrist Forward Party, but backed out out of fear that voters would mistakenly think he was leaving the Republican Party.

After the 2020 presidential election, Trump demanded that Pennsylvania conduct an election audit and spread false claims of voter fraud. But DeFoor said his own choice was fair. “When it comes to anyone else’s choices, that’s a conversation that needs to be had with them,” DeFoor added during a 2021 House committee hearing.

Republicans are trying to capitalize on recent polls that showed his support among nonwhite voters may have increased while Biden’s support among nonwhite voters has declined. The Trump campaign has localized these efforts to Philadelphia, opening a campaign office in Northeast Philadelphia and hosting his first-ever rally in Philadelphia last week. Republican House members U.S. Reps. Byron Daniels (R., Fla.) and Wesley Hunt (R., Texas) held a “Congress, Cognac and Cigars” event earlier this month to “get the votes of black men,” leading to a backlash after Daniels, who is black, made controversial comments about the Jim Crow era.

On Saturday, Trump’s rally at Temple University took place in Rep.’s state House district. Malcolm Kenyatta, DeFoor’s Democratic opponent in November. Kenyatta spoke at a press conference hours before the rally and criticized Trump’s attempts to reach out to the Black community.

“Tim does not have the courage to stand up to Donald Trump,” Kenyatta said in a statement. “Pennsylvanians deserve an auditor general who will defend our democracy and who will work to make our government work for them. That’s what I’ll do.”

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