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Donald Trump: Jobs Will Solve the Problems Black Americans Face
Posted on Mar 24, 2016
When asked by Washington Post staff whether he saw disparities in the way U.S. law enforcement treats blacks and whites, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump avoided answering directly and proposed that inner-city blacks need employment.
“What would you do for Baltimore, let’s say,” in the event he was elected president, Post editorial page director Fred Hiatt asked of Trump.
Trump responded: “Well, number one, I’d create economic zones. I’d create incentives for companies to move in. I’d work on spirit because the spirit is so low, it’s incredible, the unemployment, you look at unemployment for black youth in this country, African American youth, is 58-59 percent. It’s unthinkable. Unemployment for African Americans—not youth, but African Americans—is very high. And I would create in the inner cities, which is what I really do best.”
Hiatt pursued the issue by narrowing his question. “The root of many people’s unhappiness in Baltimore was the perception that blacks are treated differently by law enforcement. ... do you think it’s a problem that the percentage of blacks in prison is higher than whites, and what do you think is the root of that situation?”
Trump said, “Well I’ve never really see anything that—you know, I feel very strongly about law enforcement. And, you know, if you look at the riot that took place over the summer, if that were stopped—it all, it mostly took place on the first evening, and if that were stopped on the first evening, you know, you’d have a much nicer city right now, because much of that damage and much of the destruction was done on Evening One. So I feel that law enforcement, it’s got to play a big role. It’s got to play a big role. But that’s a pretty good example, because tremendous amounts of damage was done that first evening—first two evenings, but the first evening in particular. And so I’m a very strong believer in law enforcement, but I’m also a very strong believer that the inner cities can come back.”
Touching on the killing of Freddie Gray, Hiatt pressed: “... in general, do you believe there are disparities in law enforcement?”
Trump replied: “I’ve read where there are and I’ve read where there aren’t. I mean, I’ve read both. And, you know, I have no opinion on that. Because frankly, what I’m saying is you know we have to create incentives for people to go back and to reinvigorate the areas and to put people to work.”
Then Post columnist Ruth Marcus attempted the question. “I think that what he was trying to get at was the anger in the African-American community that held some of the riots and disturbances this summer about disparate treatment and about … clearly you say you’ve read where there is disparate treatment. But it is pretty undeniable that there is disproportionate incarceration of African-Americans vs. whites. What would you—is that something that concerns you?”
Trump conceded that “It would concern me … But at the same time it can be solved to a large extent with jobs.”
Post editorial writer and columnist Charles Lane tried to get to the point and asked what makes Trump’s proposal different from the policies officials have been pursuing: “I guess the question, then, is what’s different specifically about your approach to these issues from what’s been tried in the past, because a lot of effort has been put in just the direction you just described.”
Trump then looked out across the national landscape and pronounced the nation afflicted by a “lack of spirit”:
Medium contributor Mike Green saw problems in the way Hiatt and company handled the interview.
Green wrote that he “found this exchange both insightful and troubling”:
Continue reading Green’s remarks here.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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