Kimberly Klacik, who is running for Congress as a Black conservative from Baltimore, has ridden a recent wave of right-wing media coverage of her Democrat-bashing rhetoric right into a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. She announced the RNC’s invitation on right-wing Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka’s radio show Wednesday. Gorka hailed the news, calling Klacik a “Warrior Princess.”
Klacik made a splash last summer when she posted videos of “blight and trash” in Baltimore at the same time Trump was insulting Rep. Elijah Cummings, who has since died. At the time, Klacik told the Baltimore Sun that she was thinking about running for political office. Even though she does not live in the district, Klacik is running for Cummings’ old seat in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. It is currently held by Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who beat Klacik in an April 28 special election. The Baltimore Sun recently noted that the seat has never been held by a Republican.
Klacik recently became a right-wing media darling after the release of a three-minute campaign video of her striding through run-down parts of Baltimore denouncing Democrats who she says have “betrayed” the city’s residents. “Black lives don’t matter to Democrats,” charges text on the screen. “The worst place for a Black person to live in America is a Democrat-controlled city,” she charges. “Democrats think Black people are stupid.” The video, which has been viewed millions of times, ends with this line: “Black people don’t have to vote Democrat.”
Klacik’s visibility skyrocketed as the video went viral and was retweeted by President Donald Trump and his campaign adviser Brad Parscale, who announced that he donated to her campaign. On Wednesday, Eric Trump tweeted, “Go get them.”
In an interview with The Post Millennial, a conservative Canadian media outlet, Klacik dismissed the idea that systemic racism was responsible for the plight of people in the city’s neglected communities, saying, “If you’ve had Black people in office for 40 years, why on Earth haven’t they changed it?”
The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board weighed in on Wednesday, noting that Klacik was able to get Trump’s attention “by portraying Baltimore in the worst possible light.” Asking, “Is Kim Klacik running for Congress, mayor or chief Trump enabler?” the Sun editorial called her video “an attempt to blunt the African American vote that overwhelmingly supports Democrats, including Joe Biden, with the narrative that Democrats have failed American cities.” Here’s more from the editorial:
Whatever one may think of members of Congress, they don’t run cities, counties or even states, they represent one of 435 votes in one chamber of the federal legislative branch. Maryland’s 7th extends far beyond the city to Howard and Baltimore counties.
And while complaining about city leaders, current and past, is fair game for anyone (and among our favorite pastimes), it’s ludicrous and overly simple to blame the city’s ills on party affiliation. Concentrated poverty, substance abuse and a war on drugs that disproportionately criminalized low-income African Americans, racism and red-lining, the loss of blue collar jobs, collapsing public infrastructure, broken families and failing schools, these are among the major culprits. We’re all ears if a Republican, Democrat or, frankly, interplanetary visitor, has immediate means to correct any or all of them. It’s telling that Candidate Klacik offers no remedies in her video. Not one.
The video isn’t really for 7th District consumption; like its predecessor video, it’s meant for a national audience. That’s why it uses a map to show how other U.S. cities are under Democratic control and why it features comments from older African American men who object to “defunding” police, a favored GOP talking point on the national stage. Once again, Baltimore is made to play the role of Urban Horror and to scare people who have never been here, will never visit and likely will never realize that, overall, average household income in the 7th District is above the national average. Ms. Klacik’s part is to be a political stalking horse, to at least blunt Black support for Democrats on behalf of Mr. Trump, who in 2016 won all of 8% of Black votes.
Like the video, the issues page of Klacik’s campaign website is short on proposed solutions to the problems she identifies, other than saying that she will focus on bringing jobs to the city. But it’s got plenty of rhetoric to please right-wing activists and donors. Klacik says she wants to “reduce reliance on socialism”—by which she means government assistance programs. She calls for “school choice” and “a 100% tax credit for home schooling” and says she supports “Constitutional Concealed Carry reciprocity”—a goal of gun control opponents.
Klacik’s website includes a video in which she says she favors making birth control pills available over-the-counter and calls for better tracking of abortions. Earlier this week, her website also included the following incoherent section on reproductive choice, which has since disappeared from the page:
Rights of the Unborn
Being proactive vs. reactive and supporting free or over the counter birth control. With Maryland District 7 as well as half of the United States on government imposed stay at home orders, I see three possible scenarios. Either give free or over the counter birth control to prevent pregnancies or second be prepared to strengthen weakened families that survived economic collapse and are pregnant. Third and last, Abortion and a Planned Parenthood customer. There will likely be a Coro-nial generation it is time to address it as adults and be proactive.
Klacik runs a nonprofit that claims it has helped more than 200 women become employed and 30 percent of them to achieve financial independence.