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Donald Trump on Race

The American experiment is one of bringing people from different places, and of different races, together to build a stronger nation.  Donald Trump’s administration has turned its back on this mission, and has used hateful rhetoric to divide and distract us from the true sources of economic hardship. In fact, immigrants create far more new jobs (1) than they occupy by forming businesses, spending their incomes on goods, paying taxes, and raising productivity. Without immigrants (2), the U.S. workforce would be shrinking (because of declining birthrates), imperiling social security, and contracting the economy. Trump has tried to halt legal immigration, creating a complex of legal obstacles and restrictions often referred to as “a sick joke” (3). While running for President, Trump called for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” (4), and has since banned immigration from 13 predominately black and Muslim countries. There have been zero fatal terrorist attacks (5) on U.S. soil from these countries since 1975.

Trump regularly uses speeches and his twitter platform to promote misleading and white supremacist content.  In 2016, he argued that Judge Gonzalo Curiel—who was overseeing the Trump University lawsuit (6) should recuse himself because of his Mexican heritage (7). House Speaker Paul Ryan called the statement “the textbook definition of a racist comment" (8). Trump tweeted that several Black and brown members of Congress are “from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” (9) and said that they should “go back” to those countries. Three of the four members of Congress whom Trump targeted (10) were born in the U.S. Trump has called marching Neo-Nazis “very fine people” (11), and has retweeted at least 145 accounts (12) that have pushed conspiracy or racist statements, including a recent video of a supporter yelling “white power”. In the wake of the gruesome murder of George Floyd, Trump called the words “Black Lives Matter” a “symbol of hate” (13). In the ten days following his election, 900 hate incidents (14) occurred; in nearly 40% of those incidents the perpetrators explicitly invoked the president-elect’s name or his campaign slogans.

Trump’s racist rhetoric and actions reach far back into his career.  In the early ’70s, The Justice Department investigated and sued Trump Management (15) for discriminating against black renters. A reoccurring pattern was found of black rental applicants being told no apartments were available, while whites inquiring about the same apartments were offered leases. A few years after settling the lawsuit, Trump Management was again sued for racial discrimination (16). In 1992, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission fined (17) the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino for removing “African-American card dealers at the request of a certain big-spending gambler”. Additionally, Black workers were told to hide (18) in the back whenever Trump came to visit his casinos. Further, Trump rose to political prominence through promoting the birtherism conspiracy theory (19), which falsely argued that President Obama was not born in the United State

The Trump administration has worked to disassemble the protections and legal resources given to victims of discrimination, and consistently supported policies which hurt vulnerable groups.  In the first two years of Trump’s tenure in office, his administration revoked a series of rules (20) enacted by the Obama administration to help reform police departments accused of rampant abuses and civil rights violations. This included the Collaborative Reform Initiative, a voluntary program which allowed local police departments to request federal help in building community trust which “effectively put an end to federal efforts to reform local police departments and improve police-community relations” (21). The Trump administration also abandoned the Smart on Crime Initiative (22), which worked to reduce jail time for non-violent and low-level drug offenses, and promote fairer enforcement of the law. During the duration of the Smart on Crime’s operation, the nation’s incarceration rate declined 8.4 percent (23) while the crime rate fell 14.6 percent. 

The Trump Administration has subjected communities of color across the country to higher levels of cancer-causing pollution.  The Trump administration has gutted protections (24) on our nation's drinking water sources, eased regulation on coal ash and mercury pollution, and has proposed cutting funding (25) for toxic Superfund (extremely polluted areas) cleanup by 10 percent. Trump also proposed a 100% cut in the EPA's Environmental Justice funding, which is tasked with protecting vulnerable groups from disproportionate environmental harm.