October 29, 2020
In a Fox & Friends interview on October 26, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner played into a racist stereotype by seeming to question whether Black Americans “want to be successful”—despite everything he claims that the Administration had done for them, The New York Times reports.
President Trump repeatedly has bragged about what he has done for Black America—pointing to Administration’s funding for Black colleges and universities, the creation of so-called opportunity zones, and criminal justice reform.
But on Monday, Kusher commented, “One thing we’ve seen in a lot of the Black community, which is mostly Democrat, is that President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about,” Mr. Kushner said in an interview with “Fox & Friends,” the president’s favorite morning cable show. “But he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.”
In the interview, Kushner said that, after the killing in May of George Floyd, a Black man in police custody—an event that set off global protests about systemic racism, and that Kushner referred to as the “George Floyd situation”—a lot of people were more concerned with what he called “virtue signaling” than in coming up with “solutions.”
“They’d go on Instagram and cry, or they would put a slogan on their jersey or write something on a basketball court,” he said, an apparent reference to N.B.A. players like LeBron James who joined national protests over the issue of police brutality. “And quite frankly, that was doing more to polarize the country than it was to bring people forward,” he said. “You solve problems with solutions.”
According to the Times report, Kushner’s remarks prompted a scathing response from Representative Gwen Moore, a Black Democrat from Wisconsin. She tweeted: “Trust fund baby slumlord Kushner who has enriched himself in the WH takes the silver spoon out of his mouth long enough to insert his foot with a racist trope about Black people and success.”
The Democratic National Committee was equally harsh: “According to the Trump administration, when African-Americans find fault in policies that have led to historic unemployment for Black families, an explosion of racial inequities and wealth gaps, and an uncontained global pandemic that has taken the lives of over 45,000 Black Americans, it means that we just don’t want to be successful badly enough,” said Brandon Gassaway, the national press secretary for the committee. “This dismissive approach to the issues that Black voters care about is indicative of Trump’s callousness and disregard for the lives of Black people.”
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, defended Kushner by saying his remarks were taken out of context. She accused unnamed “internet trolls” for trying to “distract from President Trump’s undeniable record of accomplishment for the Black community.”
Trump’s frequent references to what he has claimed to have done for Black America have often been accompanied by one of the most patently false claims he has made since moving into the White House—that has done more for Black Americans than any president with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.
Research contact: @nytimes