Trump's Real Record on Race

Posted: Aug 22, 2017 12:01 AM
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One lesson I've learned from working with Donald Trump is that you have to pay attention to what he does, not what he says. The left and the media are accusing Trump of being racist and a Nazi-sympathizer because of his words in response to the horrid events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Let's all accept two truths: First, that every sane person denounces the violence and racial hatred displayed in Charlottesville by far-right-fringe white supremacists. And second, that Trump should have shown better judgment in his seeming defense of these crazed groups carrying around torches and Confederate flags as if celebrating a darker period in our history.

Words matter, of course, but actions do speak louder than words. Leftists believe that good intentions are more important than results. If you mean well and your heart is in the right place, that's what really matters, according to this creed. As Bill Clinton put it so famously: "I feel your pain." And that was enough.

No one cared more about the plight of black Americans than Barack Obama -- our first African-American president -- who won more than 90 percent of the black vote. But the sad paradox is that a president who was expected to lift up black America economically didn't deliver. From 2009 to 2015 the incomes of black Americans fell by more than $900 per family, adjusted for inflation.

Under Trump so far, median family incomes have risen by more than $1,000, according to Sentier Research and based on Census Bureau numbers. These numbers are not broken down by race, but it's a pretty good bet that black incomes have risen with those of other races under Trump.

What about other metrics of black economic progress under Trump? It's early, for sure, but we have some preliminary results since Election Day, when the stock market started its latest bull market run.

The black unemployment rate has fallen by a full percentage point in the last year; black labor-force participation is up; and the number of black Americans with a job has risen by 600,000 from last year. Preliminary data show black wages and incomes are up since the election.

So far, under Trump, the rate of job growth per month for blacks has been 40 percent higher than the monthly average under Obama. Trump has averaged nearly 30,000 new black jobs per month. That's especially remarkable because Obama was elected when employment was way down and had only one direction to go.

The other issue that is critically important to black and Hispanic economic progress is good schools. No president has done more to advance school choice so that every child can attend a quality school -- public or private. In cities such as Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 90 percent of the children who benefit from these programs are black. Trump wants to increase these vouchers and scholarships tenfold.

The goal here is to give every poor child the same range of education choices that wealthy families have. As black parents in D.C. who participate in these scholarship programs have told me, "Why does Barack Obama get to send his kids to private schools, but we don't?" Good question, one that no liberal has ever been able to answer.

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The same people who denounce Trump for being racist hypocritically oppose Trump's plan for better school options for black children. I have heard many liberal commentators compare Donald Trump to George Wallace, the former governor of Alabama who defended school segregation and stood in front of white public schools with armed guards to keep the black children out.

Now we have liberals and teachers unions figuratively standing, like modern-day George Wallaces, in front of high-quality private schools, trying to keep black children out.

Trump also wants more infrastructure spending, more energy jobs and more apprenticeship programs so our youth have access to better jobs and better training. Disproportionately, blacks and other minorities will benefit from these programs, because fewer have the financial capability to go to a four-year college.

So is Trump a racist who doesn't care about the future of black Americans? Let's face it: He's no Jack Kemp when it comes to talking about race and healing wounds with his words. But Trump is creating more jobs and higher incomes for blacks (and other minorities) and trying to give a better education to every disadvantaged black child in America. That is a pretty impressive civil rights record.