Why voters must consider Trump’s record on race — not the rhetoric
In Tuesday’s presidential debate, we wish President Trump would have said, “The Proud Boys are racists and I am repulsed by their very existence.” Instead, he left more room for the left to fan the flames that he is dog-whistling to white supremacists.
In reality, every Republican president in modern history has been accused of being a racist, white supremacist dog-whistler. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush all fought against the left’s narrative that they hated black people. Under the backdrop of President Trump’s ongoing war with the press, the Bushes now enjoy a revisionist love affair with the media and the left.
President Trump’s penchant for counter-punching the media, rather than cowering in the corner in fear of a bad headline, makes him an even greater target for misrepresentation of the facts. The most outrageous misrepresentation came during that August 2017 news conference when the president said there were “very fine people” on both sides of the Charlottesville protest. Republicans, generally pitiful at fighting back against the mainstream media, allowed the lie to grow legs and run wild.
For anyone interested in the truth, watch the news conference and not the carefully edited soundbites. The full news conference reveals that President Trump unequivocally condemned neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the murderer who drove his car into a crowd of protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. When he spoke of “very fine people,” any honest journalist would have reported that President Trump was in no way referring to neo-Nazis or white supremacists.
Oftentimes, such as during Tuesday’s debate, President Trump places the target on himself. By not giving a full-throated denunciation of the Proud Boys, he left room for cringe-worthy headlines — making it even harder to fight for his record of Black achievement to be recognized. We believe President Trump’s success for the Black community is far more significant than his modern predecessors, both Republican and Democrat.
In 2016, our vote for President Trump was really a vote against Hilary Clinton. In 2020, our vote for President Trump will be because he has delivered for the American people — Black Americans most particularly. The $75 billion invested in underserved communities through Opportunity Zones, which are largely minority, his unparalleled support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the First Step Act, advancing the most comprehensive criminal justice reform plan in generations, are all significant achievements that get a yawn from the mainstream media.
We are pro-life conservatives and actually are floored that we have received more from President Trump than other establishment conservative politicians. Black Americans represent only 13 percent of the U.S. population, yet we represent more than one-third of the abortions each year. President Trump’s support for the pre-born is another reason we will support him.
However, even if President Trump had not made such strides in advancing an opportunity agenda for Black Americans, we would be suspicious of Joe Biden’s record on race and be unable to cast our vote for him. The former vice president has a laundry list of racially insensitive remarks on the record that have barely made headlines outside of right-leaning media. Even if you ignore the rhetoric, his legislative record on criminal justice reform should raise eyebrows. Before it was convenient to ignore Biden’s record on race, his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), pointed out his cozy relationship with segregationists and his opposition to busing. Will Biden ever have to answer for saying that he did not want his kids to grow up in a “racial jungle” in regard to desegregation?
And finally, as President Trump is being asked to denounce white supremacists — which he has done time and time again — Joe Biden is getting a pass on denouncing antifa and Black Lives Matter. Over the past four months, these organizations literally have been responsible for the destruction of lives and livelihoods.
When it comes to rhetoric and records on race, we comfortably will cast our votes to support Donald Trump’s record.
Deana Bass Williams is a partner at Bass Public Affairs in the Washington area. A Republican strategist, she is the former deputy chief of staff to Housing Secretary Ben Carson. Follow her on Twitter @deana_basswms.
Dee Dee Bass Wilbon is managing partner at Bass Public Affairs. She has worked as a media consultant for community organizations, business leaders, entertainers and elected officials. Follow her on Twitter @deedeewilbon.
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