The other Big Story from the recent press conference Donald Trump held at his new luxury hotel in Washington DC was not related to what Trump said about the bigoted “Birther” issue that Trump exploited for years to burnish his brand as a political player.
That other Big Story, missed by the news media, was what Trump did not say about his professed outreach to African-Americans — those tagged by Trump as “The Blacks.”
During that press conference where Trump blithely backed away, sort of, from the ‘Birther’ claim that President Obama was not born in America, Trump did not use that occasion to brag about the benefits black construction companies and black workers obtained from his $200-million luxury hotel project.
A Trump announcement that detailed how black businesses and workers benefited from his luxury hotel project could have boosted Trump’s recent campaign claims that he cares about “The Blacks.”
However, self-described billionaire businessman Trump’s historic record of failing to do business with black businesses undermined even this serial false-claim-maker from falsely proclaiming blacks received benefits from the renovation project that produced Trump’s latest luxury hotel.
The fact that the Washington, DC area is home to large numbers of qualified black construction companies and black construction workers did not prompt news media inquiries about the paucity of blacks involved with Trump’s multi-million dollar hotel project typified news media failings on issues involving race/racism.
Trump’s alleged outreach to African-Americans is yet another example of the charade that parades as Trump’s presidential campaign. This charade gains traction by shallow and unquestioning coverage in mainstream news media. The same news media that have dutifully extended coverage to Trump’s belated claims that he dislikes high unemployment rates among minorities did not question the literal Black-Out on Trump’s hotel project.
Proof of this charade was provided – again – when Trump brought his “I Love My Blacks” tour through Philadelphia recently, where that tour radiated the Republican Party’s signature faux outreach to black voters exhibited during presidential election campaigns.
Although Trump proclaimed that the handful of handpicked blacks he met with at that private meeting in Philadelphia were “Black Leaders,” none are widely recognized leaders in Philadelphia’s black community. Further, that private meeting held in a black owned facility on the edge of the predominately black North Philadelphia excluded that city’s black owned news media.
The refusal of Trump to speak with black owned news media in Philadelphia and elsewhere speaks volumes about the sincerity of Trump’s outreach to black voters, observed respected Philadelphia political reporter Vincent Thompson, the local news correspondent for WURD900AM, the only African-American-owned talk radio station in Pennsylvania.
“If you are appealing to the black community but not speaking to black media, that is a problem,” Thompson said.
Trump, during that cloistered meeting in Philadelphia, displayed his trademark insensitivity to and/or ignorance of issues of import in black communities when he called for more controversial Stop-&-Frisk policing. That police tactic has received vigorous rejection in black communities nationwide due in to its race-based targeting, which often features repugnant dragnet harassment of law-abiding blacks.
Philadelphia’s Stop-&-Frisk policing, now under federal court-ordered reform, has demonstrated a racially disproportionate impact. Statistics from the first half of 2015, for example, found blacks were nearly 70 percent of the stops and nearly 80 percent of the searches, although blacks comprise just 44 percent of the city’s population.
Philadelphia Police Department statistics contradict Trump’s claims in supporting increased Stop-&-Frisks: the need to to seize guns to reduce violence. Guns were recovered in just one quarter of one percent of the tens of thousands of stops conducted annually by Philadelphia police.
The pattern in Trump’s post-RNC-convention outreach to black voters through his private, photo-op meetings, in contrast to the large public rallies conducted with whites, accelerates a seminal accusation. Many argue credibly that the actual audience of Trump’s “outreach” to blacks is really whites voters. Trump’s calculated appearance of outreach to blacks assuages whites outside of Trump’s base that Trump is not the bigot that his political campaign rhetoric and business career record reveal.
Republican candidate Trump has stridently criticized the anti-police brutality rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement. Trump’s BLM criticism occurred when black communities nationwide rallied in near unity against abusive policing which ranges from false arrests to fatal shootings. Trump has embraced Law-&-Order as a campaign theme, seizing the racially coded phrase that the repulsive Richard Nixon used to rally white voters during his successful White House bid in 1968.
Trump’s contention that Democrats are those most responsible for the unemployment, poor housing and poverty that ravage too many African-Americans carries a peculiar stench which wafts from the dismal track record of this candidate who has not utilized his billionaire stature to address America’s festering societal ills.
For example, no public evidence exists that Trump ever used his frequently proclaimed clout as a jobs generator to specifically address unemployment among blacks. The unemployment rate among blacks in Washington, DC is the highest in America according to government statistics released last year, ironically during the wake of a ruckus arising from media reports that documented the employment of undocumented immigrants on Trump’s DC hotel project.
Mitigating Trump’s duplicitous outreach to blacks is the fact that it is a page taken from the playbook the Republican Party uses every four years.
During presidential elections throughout past decades the Republican Party has proclaimed that it wants support from blacks…the same voters who endure near daily onslaughts from Republican legislators nationwide who gleefully pass repressive laws like erecting restrictions on voting rights and shielding abusive police from accountability.