I personally do not agree with everything President Trump says or does, and I often find myself on national TV as a conservative pundit saying exactly that. But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that Trump has been one of the most impactful presidents for African Americans from a policy perspective — and that’s what matters.
His recent police-reform executive order, the First Step Act, released thousands of people from jail (90 percent of whom were black). He has promoted “opportunity zones” that incentivized private investment into marginalized communities, and also increased federal funding to historically black colleges and universities by 17 percent — a total exceeding $100 million, more than any president in history. Meanwhile, the Obama administration infamously removed a two-year Bush-administration program that annually funded $85 million directly to these prized institutions.
As I mention in my book, “Taken For Granted,” during the 2016 election Trump did something few Republicans had the courage to do — he targeted the black vote and spoke directly to African-American issues.
He was not afraid of saying the “wrong thing” (and, yes, he sometimes did) while achieving the ultimate goal of creating real dialogue and opportunity in communities largely ignored by both parties. In return, he received only 8 percent of the black vote generally, and 12 percent of black men. (By comparison, Romney earned 6 percent of the black vote.) But after three years in office, having delivered on so many issues for black voters, Trump’s support among black men had risen to 24 percent, according to one February poll.