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What Is Normal?

White House Advisor Ja'Ron Smith Brings the House Down in Atlanta

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Now less than 40 days away from Election Day, President Trump is busy on the campaign trail, shoring up votes from his core base of supporters, and gaining serious ground with disillusioned Black and Latino Democrats. During a multi-stop day that includes stops in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia, the president hosted a Black Economic Empowerment event in Atlanta to detail his new Platinum Plan, which will put $500 billion to work for Black Americans. 

White House advisor and Assistant to the President on Domestic Policy Ja'Ron Smith, who spoke at the Republican National Committee last month to great fanfare, described the president's remarkable Platinum Plan to NPR just ahead of the president's remarks on Friday. 

"Today is historic because for the first time you have a Republican president and a Republican agenda that's focused on the economic empowerment of the Black community," Smith told NPR. He went on to describe the idea that the federal government would be able to use the money to invest in Black businesses. 

The Platinum Plan would also invest in "microlending" to establish organizations that would help Black Americans start and grow their businesses, according to Smith, who also gave remarks at the event ahead of the president.

Smith described the moment things changed for him as a Black man in America: 2016, the day President Trump was elected and went forward with putting more money into Historically Black Colleges and Universities, creating Opportunity Zones, and reforming criminal justice. 

Several moving speakers preceded the president, often discussing the hot button issue of school choice, deriding Democrats for constantly shutting down the idea of giving Black parents the chance to send their kids to a better school. 

Smith, 38, is a graduate of the historically Black Howard University in Washington D.C. On Friday, he spoke passionately about his boss's unflinching support of HBCUs and dedicated investment in the Black community. 

Other speakers hailed the president's success in his first term, and the crowd roared with applause as the many different featured personalities listed off the things Trump's administration has done to benefit Black America. 

The president, introduced by Herschel Walker, was greeted with deafening cries of "Four More Years!" before getting into his plan to boost the economy and empower Black Americans. 

"Our movement is welcoming back millions of Black Americans back to the Republican Party: the party of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln," the president said. He also said that the Black support he has gained through his actions in office will secure his reelection in November.

Of course, the president didn't only tout his promise to rebuild the economy for Black Americans; he also targeted his Democratic opponent Joe Biden for being a constant letdown. He slammed Biden for exploiting Black Americans for their vote and pandering to them as a monolith for decades. 

"Joe Biden shouldn't be demanding your support... he should be begging for your forgiveness," Trump said. 

Trump also slammed Democrats for their response to the violence and unrest that has plagued city streets throughout the summer, saying that instead of donating to the Marxist Black Lives Matter organizations and bailing out criminals, Democrats should help rebuild the neighborhoods they've destroyed. 

Toward the end of his remarks, Trump reminded the crowd that he would be naming his third nominee to the Supreme Court on Saturday. The crowd, which remained exuberant throughout the speech, went wild at this announcement, shouting chants of "Fill the Seat! Fill the Seat!" 

"With your help, and with your voice, the best is yet to come," Trump said to close out. 

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