President Trump promised Friday that if reelected he will create 3 million new jobs for Black Americans, promote creation of 5,000 new Black-owned businesses, increase access to capital in Black neighborhoods and make Juneteenth a national holiday.
“I keep my promises,” Trump said at an event unveiling the “Platinum Plan” for what the campaign called “Black Economic Empowerment.”
He did not say how he would fund those proposals.
Trump noted that most Black Americans have voted Democratic and argued that their economic prospects are better with him.
“But every day more Black Americans are deciding that the old way is not working,” he said to applause.
Trump also pledged to continue to work toward criminal justice reform and to create “a new national clemency project” to revisit unjust prosecutions or overly long sentences.
Juneteenth refers to June 19, 1865, the day a few months after the end of the Civil War when some enslaved people in Texas learned they were free. It is honored as a holiday in some cities and by some workplaces, but Trump’s program would make the observance nationwide.
Trump predicted he will win with a record percentage of the Black vote, and he repeated a controversial appeal to Black voters: “What the hell do you have to lose?” he said, to laughter.
The event in suburban Atlanta included addresses by Trump’s only Black Cabinet member, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Black ministers and former NFL star Herschel Walker.
A video that aired before Trump took the stage included Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s annoyed response earlier this year that “you ain’t Black” if you can’t tell whether he or Trump would do more for Black people.
Trump mocked Biden for conducting most of his presidential campaign virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“By the way, he’s staying in again today,” Trump joked.
Biden issued a statement about Trump’s campaign stop in Georgia that focused on the president’s handling of the pandemic.
“Four years ago, President Trump ran on a platform to make America great again. Yet under President Trump’s failed leadership, nearly 6,800 Georgians have died from the coronavirus,” nearly half of them Black, Biden said.
“And, in the midst of this global health pandemic and economic crisis, President Trump is still working to tear down the Affordable Care Act and take away protections for Georgians with preexisting conditions,” Biden said.