A Recount of What Trump has Done for Black Americans

A Recount of What Trump has Done for Black Americans

Audrey Engel, Reporter

With rappers such as 50 Cent and Lil Wayne praising the president, one could speculate that Trump’s presidency has been beneficial to Black Americans. Additionally, Trump regularly claims that he has done the most for Black people since Abraham Lincoln. He attempts to flaunt a low unemployment rate and funding for historically Black colleges, but Covid-19 has disproportionately affected Black people under his administration, thus causing the unemployment rate to spike. Before Covid, it is undeniable that there was a downward trend inherited by President Obama, but with Trump’s actions during the pandemic, Obama’s actions have been reversed. 

Upon further inspection, he often does more harm than good. After police shot a 27- year old Black man named Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia, Trump promoted an ad stating to “Uphold the Law,” praising the police and blaming Biden and Harris for inciting violence, and calling policemen “the most incredible people on earth.” He carries his passion for law enforcement to Twitter as well, as he has a strong love for the phrase “law and order,” and regularly tweets “LAW AND ORDER!!!!!” Looking past its obvious irony, he claims to be strict on crime, and criticizes Biden and Harris for their looser stances on the law. Trump’s strict stance on drug reform and crime is incredibly harmful to Black communities; the War on Drugs, something that he promotes, has been proved to be a racist scam by John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s counsel and Assistant for Domestic Affairs, who stated that it was used to target Black Americans and other groups who opposed Nixon. 

There is merit to Trump’s First Step Act, legislation entailing criminal justice reform which has initiated real change. The bill seemed to be bipartisan, gaining the support of most politicians. Since being passed, it has decreased the federal prison population, with Black Americans making up 91% of those receiving sentence reductions and it is well-liked by most Democrats. However, this act is not without flaws. It raises concerns of unconstitutional government spending on religious endeavors and discriminates against many due to immigration status and citizenship. Additionally, its first versions were largely opposed by civil rights organizations such as the ACLU; once faced with immense criticism, improvements were made addressing harsh sentencing with sentencing reform provisions. 

Aside from the First Step Act, Trump has also gloated frequently about saving the suburbs, by abolishing a rule enacted by Obama’s administration to track patterns of segregation. Trump replaced this rule with a far weaker one, even bypassing a crucial step regarding public opinion. This act was blatantly discriminatory, as not only did it catch the attention of multiple civil rights activists in court, but he tweeted about renewing the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream.”

Finally, Trump preaches that he saved Historically Black Colleges and Universities with funding. It is true that he initiated funding to HBCUs, but only by renewing Obama’s plan. Presidents of HBCUs since have said that they receive the same funding under Trump as they did under Obama and are now pushing for more, as HBCUs have far smaller endowments and rely more on funding than predominantly white schools. 

To break it down further, Donald J. Trump has certainly not done more for Black Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln. In fact, Obama did more for Black Americans than Trump has in the past four years. To be fair, Obama’s presidency lasted eight years, but it is no coincidence that Trump won only 8% of Black voters in 2016.