Trump claims he has done more for black community than any president since Lincoln

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE insisted Tuesday that his administration has done more for the African American community “than any president since Abraham Lincoln” and said the “BEST IS YET TO COME.”

Trump in a series of tweets cited his administration’s work to enact criminal justice reform and establish federal tax breaks for those investing in underserved communities through opportunity zones as well as the record low unemployment rate among African Americans recorded before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Trump’s statement came amid criticism of his response to widespread protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody last week after a white police officer knelt on his neck. The black community has also been disproportionately impacted by the novel coronavirus, further complicating Trump’s effort to court African American voters ahead of the 2020 election. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“My Admin has done more for the Black Community than any President since Abraham Lincoln. Passed Opportunity Zones with @SenatorTimScott, guaranteed funding for HBCU’s, School Choice, passed Criminal Justice Reform, lowest Black unemployment, poverty, and crime rates in history,” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “AND THE BEST IS YET TO COME!”

Lincoln in 1863 signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves in states under Confederate control free and paving the way for the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery two years later following the Civil War.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump during an address Monday threatened to dispatch the military to cities and states that fail to contain protests that have grown violent at night and have resulted in the destruction of property.

Trump declared himself the “president of law and order” and said he stood with peaceful protesters demonstrating against Floyd’s “brutal death” while decrying the destruction he attributed to “professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa and others.”

Shortly before Trump delivered his remarks, peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square were forcibly removed by law enforcement less than half an hour before a 7 p.m. citywide curfew. 

Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden looks to expand election battleground into Trump country Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally Special counsel investigating DeVos for potential Hatch Act violation: report MORE, Trump’s likely 2020 Democratic foe, on Tuesday accused Trump of using the military to crack down on protesters in order to appeal to his base. 

Trump was accused of fomenting violence last week when he tweeted early Friday that protesters in Minneapolis were “thugs” and warned that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” — repeating a phrase used by a white Miami police chief in the civil rights era regarding the aggressive policing of black neighborhoods. Trump insisted last week that he was unaware of the origins of the phrase and said he was not encouraging violence.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump, who has had a history of controversial remarks on race, has tried to step up his pitch to African American voters ahead of the 2020 election by focusing on criminal justice reform, opportunity zones and the black unemployment rate — which reached a record low of 5.5 percent last fall.

However, the coronavirus closures have devastated the U.S. economy, leading the overall unemployment rate to spike to 14.7 percent in April and the black unemployment rate to spike to 16.7 percent. African Americans have also been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 itself, experiencing higher infection and death rates than white, Asian and Latino Americans.

Trump has used public events in recent weeks to highlight work on opportunity zones and efforts to deploy federal coronavirus resources to community centers and hospitals in underserved communities. Trump has also repeatedly pledged to claw back the economic gains lost as a result of the virus.