Get ready, black people. It’s time for Donald Trump’s “New Deal for Black America.”
With his swearing-in as president on Friday, Trump’s 10-point game plan for African Americans is now in play.
“Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves,” Trump said in his inaugural address. “But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities . . . an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
Among his pledges: a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure, “of which the inner cities will be a major beneficiary.”
There are some catches and caveats, as you might expect from a wheeler-dealer like Trump.
The District, for instance, has a disproportionately high percentage of people in poverty, especially children. But the “inner city,” the geographical center of the city, is 14th and L Streets NW — a rapidly gentrifying area where a studio apartment can cost more than $3,000 a month.
So what’s the plan for the low-income blacks who couldn’t afford to stay: Move back — or no deal? Trump doesn’t say.
The new president met with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser soon after his election. But she has yet to say anything about how Trump’s proposals might affect the city’s residents.
“I won’t talk about specific things that the president and I discussed,” Bowser said. “I will say that we had a wide-ranging conversation about things that are important to Washingtonians.”
Other black people who have met with Trump have been just as opaque as to what his plans mean for black America.
Martin Luther King III could not shed any light on the deal after his meeting with Trump.
“[Trump] said that he is going to represent all Americans,” King said. “He said that over and over again.”
At a news conference with Trump, ex-boxing promoter Don King sounded like he had cut a deal for himself — at the expense of black people.
“America needs Donald Trump,” King said. “We need Donald Trump, especially black people. Because you have got to understand, my black brothers and sisters, they told me, you’ve got to try to emulate and imitate the white man and then you will be successful.”
To come up with the $1 trillion, Trump says on his website, “we will cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama-Clinton, including all global warming payments to the United Nations.”
In other words, be a climate-change denier — or be unemployed. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, global warming poses a danger to everyone, “especially to children, the elderly, low-income communities, and minorities.”
Moreover, very few, if any, construction companies will hire inexperienced young black people for a federally funded job. Journeymen will not tolerate strangers wandering around a job site; company owners are not going to risk going over budget by having to correct mistakes made by a trainee.
Right or wrong, that is a reality that Trump knows all too well.
In his inaugural address, Trump offered soaring words on the diversity of America and the things that should unite us.
“It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots,” he said. “And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the wind-swept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same Almighty Creator.”
But his economic plan pits black against brown.
“No group has been more economically harmed by decades of illegal immigration than low-income African American workers,” his website says. “We will suspend reckless refugee admissions from terror-prone regions that cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. We will use a portion of the money saved by enforcing our laws, and suspending refugees, to re-invested in our inner cities.”
What a deal.
To read previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/milloy.