CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Donald Trump on Wednesday laid out his "new deal for Black America" to a predominantly white crowd, narrating a bleak and unrealistic picture of black communites and casting himself as the man to fix it.
Trump laid out three foundational principles that would guide his deal with African-American voters: safe communities, great education and higher paying jobs. In order to accomplish these goals, Trump promised more police on the streets, proposed designating "blighted communities" with "disaster designation" in order to spur their rebuilding and swore to stop illegal immigration.
The speech, billed as remarks on urban renewal and inner cities, spoke to the black experience writ large in this country as one where black Americans lack job opportunities and safe communities. As Trump does during most of his appeals to the community, the GOP nominee described inner cities as places where "you walk to the store to buy a loaf of bread, maybe with your child, and you get shot, your child gets shot."
He did not address gun control, nor his commitment to the Second Amendment. And Trump did not mention the ongoing tension between the black community and law enforcement, even after a long pattern of shooting deaths of African-American men and women by police have rocked these communities.
Trump declared that the problem is not too many police, but instead too few. He praised law enforcement and said that Hillary Clinton was urging on a "war" against police, which he deemed "reckless." In the past, Trump has pushed for controversial "stop-and-frisk" policing, specifically in cities like Chicago that are plagued by gun violence. But that policy was not mentioned in Charlotte Wednesday.
Instead, Trump focused on stopping illegal immigration as a means to return jobs and economic prosperity to the black community. "Illegal immigration violates the civil rights of African-Americans," Trump said. "No group has been more economically harmed by decades of illegal immigration than low-income African-American workers." He pushed for the wall along the Mexico border and argued that by curbing the number of undocumented immigrants flowing into the country, it would "restore the civil rights" to the black community.
The Republican businessman pushed for tax holidays and tax incentives to help companies to relocate to inner cities. And to continue to spur the the growth of these "blighted communities" Trump wants to "seek a federal disaster designation … in order to initiate the rebuilding of vital infrastructure, the demolition of abandoned properties and the increased presence of law enforcement."
Trump also called for a "21st century Glass-Steagall" and attacked the Clintons for lifting the Wall Street reform law. He wanted legislation that would prioritize helping African-American businesses "get the credit they need," but he did not delve further into details about what his version might look like. Trump also said he would "encourage small-business creation by allowing social welfare workers to convert poverty assistance into repayable but forgivable micro-loans."
Though the issue of the day was inner cities and urban renewal, Trump still took time to attack his rivals — and it wasn't just the current ones who were on the receiving end of the day's barbs. Jeb Bush dropped out of the primary race in March, but declined to endorsed Trump once he won the nomination. Though Bush has stayed largely out of the fray since his departure from the race, Trump seems to still take issue with his lack of support for the GOP ticket. Showing his displeasure, Trump revived his old rant against "low energy" Jeb Bush, and appropriated it for his current rival, Hillary Clinton.
"She has less energy than Jeb Bush," he spouted. Seated in the audience, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway turned to reporters at the back of the room and smiled.