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To Jared Kushner, Black Americans' grappling with inequality, racism is 'complaining'

Kushner said Trump's policies "can help people break out of the problems that they're complaining about, but he can't want them to be successful more than they want to be successful."
Image: Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner at the White House on Monday.Alex Brandon / AP

White House adviser Jared Kushner described Black America's issues with inequality and racism as "complaining" in an interview Monday.

"The thing we've seen in the Black community, which is mostly Democrat," he said on "Fox & Friends," "is that President Trump's policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they're complaining about, but he can't want them to be successful more than they want to be successful."

Kushner's words appeared to blame Black Americans' disproportionate lack of wealth and job opportunities, as well as health disparities and other inequalities, on a lack of drive — suggesting that the problem is that Black Americans don't "want" success enough. However, his comments did not address the roots of systemic racism.

"This dismissive approach to the issues that Black voters care about is indicative of Trump's callousness and disregard for the lives of Black people," Brandon Gassaway, the Democratic National Committee's national press secretary, said in a statement. "We cannot afford another four years of a White House that does not take our voices seriously and tells us to be grateful for whatever scraps are leftover from the bargaining table. We need leaders who not only value our input but prioritize and act upon it. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are those leaders, and Black voters will continue to show up to the polls in record numbers to ensure that Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, and this failed administration get the message."

Shortly after the clip aired, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany released a statement: "It's disgusting to see internet trolls taking Senior Advisor Jared Kushner out of context as they try to distract from President Trump's undeniable record of accomplishment for the Black community. From criminal justice reform and record HBCU funding to record low Black unemployment and record high income increases, there is simply no disputing that President Trump accomplished what Democrats merely talked about. Those who have worked with President Trump have seen success on these joint objectives, unlike with previous failed Democrat politicians."

According to a study last year by McKinsey and Co., a management consulting firm, the racial wealth gap between Black and white families has been widening for decades, in part because white family wealth has continued to grow while that of Black families has stagnated.

Trump's re-election campaign has been working with the rapper Ice Cube, who has promoted his own Contract With Black America as a platform for the presidential campaigns to adopt. The entertainer's plan includes federal financial oversight, criminal justice reform, the dismantling of Confederate monuments and several other actions. He has gotten backlash for his willingness to work with Trump on a plan to address historic inequalities given Trump's record on addressing racism, including cutting diversity training in the federal government.

"I've told everybody that I'm not playing politics with this," Ice Cube said on Fox News over the weekend. "I'm willing to meet with anybody who could bring this to life and make it a reality."

Black Voices for Trump, an arm of the president's re-election campaign, says Trump will focus on bolstering Black businesses, enabling school choice and criminal justice reform, and supporting historically Black colleges and universities. His official campaign echoes those promises.

Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly said no other president since Abraham Lincoln has done more for Black Americans. In particular, he has trumpeted the low Black unemployment rate before the coronavirus pandemic affected the economy. The rate, however, had been slowly decreasing during the Obama administration, but it still remained higher than among other racial groups, even at its lowest point of 5.9 percent in May 2018.

Kushner also asserted that Black voters are creeping over to the Trump column. Four years ago, only 8 percent of Black voters chose Trump. While his opponent, Joe Biden, is leading among Black voters overall in the polls, some — particularly men — have shown interest in supporting Trump, according to a new FiveThirtyEight analysis. According to the report, many Black men say the Democrats have long taken Black voters for granted.

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