During a speech Wednesday evening in Charlotte, North Carolina, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump got specific about how he plans to help African-Americans and others living in America's inner cities.
Calling it a "New Deal for Black America," Trump's urban renewal agenda focused on three areas: safe communities, great education, and high-paying jobs. And, as always, it rested upon the central theme of his campaign: "America first."
Here's what he said:
It is great to be here in Charlotte to discuss an issue that means so much to me.
That is the issue of urban renewal, and the rebuilding of our inner cities.
Today I want to talk about how to grow the African-American middle class, and to provide a new deal for Black America. That deal is grounded in three promises: safe communities, great education and high-paying jobs.
My vision rests on a principle that has defined this campaign: America First.
Every African-American citizen in this country is entitled to a government that puts their jobs, wages and security first.
I'm asking today for the honor of your vote, and the privilege to represent you as your president. Here is the promise I make to you: whether you vote for me or not, I will be your greatest champion. I have no special interest, I take no orders from donors or lobbyists—I work for you, and only you.
Our campaign is about change, optimism, and the future. I am asking people to break from the bitter failures of the past, and to imagine the amazing possibilities for our future.
Our opponent represents the rigged system and failed thinking of yesterday. Her campaign offers only the depressing pessimism that says this is as good as it gets, that nothing can ever really change.
Hillary has been there for 30 years and hasn't fixed anything; she's just made it worse.
American politics is caught in a time loop; we keep electing the same people, who keep making the same mistakes, and who keep offering the same excuses.
The fact that our corrupt Washington establishment has tried so hard to stop our movement is just more proof that we represent the kind of change that arrives only once in a lifetime.
Every day I'm out on the trail proposing fresh solutions and new thinking. And every day, the same people, getting rich off our broken system, tell us that we can't change and that we can't try anything new.
I have a message for all the doubters in Washington: America's future belongs to the dreamers, not the cynics.
And it's time to extend that dream to every African-American citizen in this country.
African-American citizens have sacrificed so much for this nation. They have fought and died in every war since the Revolution, and from the pews and the picket lines they have lifted up the conscience of our country in the long march for Civil Rights.
Yet, too many African-Americans have been left behind: 45 percent of African-American children under the age of 6 live in poverty; 58 percent of African-American youth are not currently employed.
African-Americans compromise roughly 13 percent of the population, yet make-up 60 percent of murder victims under the age of 22.
In 2015, violent crime in Charlotte increased by 18 percent, and it's expected to rise 24 percent in 2016.
In the city of Chicago, nearly 3,500 people have been shot since January of this year.
The conditions in our inner cities today are unacceptable.
The Democrats have run our inner cities for 50, 60, 70 years or more. They've run the school boards, the city councils, the mayor's offices and the congressional seats. Their policies have failed, and they've failed miserably.
They've trapped children in failing government schools and opposed school choice at every turn.
The Clintons gave us NAFTA and China's entry into the World Trade Organization, two deals that de-industrialized America, uprooted our industry, and stripped bare towns like Detroit and Baltimore and the inner cities of North Carolina. This state has lost nearly half of its manufacturing jobs since Bill and Hillary's NAFTA, decimating the African-American middle class.
Democratic policies have also given rise to crippling crime and violence.
Then there is the issue of taxation and regulation. Massive taxes, massive regulation of small business and radical restrictions on American energy, have driven jobs and opportunities out of our inner cities. Hillary wants to raise taxes on successful small businesses as high as 45 percent, which will only drive more jobs out of your community, and into other countries.
One of the greatest betrayals has been the issue of immigration. Illegal immigration violates the civil rights of African-Americans. No group has been more economically-harmed by decades of illegal immigration than low-income African-American workers. Hillary's pledge to enact "open borders," made in secret to a foreign bank, would destroy the African-American middle class.
At the center of my revitalization plan is the issue of trade. Massive, chronic trade deficits have emptied out our jobs. Just look at what has happened to Baltimore, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and right here in North Carolina. It's the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world.
If I'm president, and the executives at Ford Motor Company announce they are moving their plants and jobs to Mexico, I will pick up the phone and make a simple call. I will tell those executives that if they move their factories to Mexico, I will put a 35 percent tax on their product before they ship it back into the United States. We won't let your jobs be stolen from you anymore. When we stop the offshoring to low-wage countries, we raise wages at home, meaning rent and bills become instantly more affordable.
At the same time, my plan to lower the business tax from 35 percent to 15 percent will bring thousands of new companies onto our shores. It also includes a massive middle-class tax cut, tax-free childcare savings accounts, and childcare tax deductions and credits.
I will also propose tax holidays for inner-city investment, and new tax incentives to get foreign companies to relocate in blighted American neighborhoods. I will further empower cities and states to seek a federal disaster designation for blighted communities in order to initiate the rebuilding of vital infrastructure, the demolition of abandoned properties, and the increased presence of law enforcement.
I will also pursue financial reforms to make it easier for young African-Americans to get credit to pursue their dreams in business and create jobs in their communities. Dodd-Frank has been a disaster, making it harder for small businesses to get the credit they need. The policies of the Clintons brought us the financial recession, through lifting Glass-Steagall, pushing subprime lending, and blocking reforms to Fannie and Freddie. It's time for a 21st-century Glass Steagall and, as part of that, a priority on helping African-American businesses get the credit they need.
We will also encourage small-business creation by allowing social welfare workers to convert poverty assistance into repayable but forgive-able micro-loans.
Then there is the issue of public safety. Making our communities safe again will be a priority for the Trump Administration.
I have heard and have listened to the concerns raised by African-American citizens about our justice system, and I promise that under a Trump administration, the law will be applied fairly, equally and without prejudice. There will be only one set of rules, not a two-tiered system of justice. The best evidence of unequal justice is that Hillary Clinton could violate so many laws, bleach and delete 33,000 emails after a Congressional subpoena, lie to Congress and the FBI, put our national security at grave risk, and not even face so much as a fine.
Equal justice also means the same rules for Wall Street. The Obama administration never held Wall Street accountable.
We will also police our streets. I want every poor African-American child to be able to walk down the street in peace. Safety is a civil right. The problem is not the presence of police but the absence of police. I will invest in training and funding both local and federal law enforcement operations to remove the gang members, drug dealers and criminal cartels from our neighborhoods. The reduction of crime is not merely a goal, but a necessity. We will get it done. The war on police urged on by my rival is reckless and dangerous and puts African-American lives at risk. We must work with our police, not against them.
On immigration, my policy is simple. I will restore the civil rights of African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and all Americans by ending illegal immigration. I will reform visa rules to give American workers preference for jobs, and I will suspend reckless refugee admissions from terror-prone regions that cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. A portion of the money saved by enforcing our laws, and suspending refugees, will be re-invested in our inner cities. It is time to help the American citizens who have become refugees in their own country.
Infrastructure will be another major goal. My contract calls for $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, of which the inner cities will be a major beneficiary.
I will also cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama-Clinton, including all global warming payments to the United Nations. These steps will save $100 billion over eight years, and this money will be used to help rebuild the vital infrastructure, including water systems, in America's inner cities.
School choice is at the center of my plan. My proposal redirects education spending to allow every disadvantaged child in America to attend the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. School choice is the great civil rights issue of our time, and I will be the nation's biggest cheerleader for school choice in all 50 states. I will also appoint a commission to investigate the school to prison pipeline and to shut it down and create a new pathway that leads from a great education to a great job. My plan will also ensure funding for Historical Black Colleges and Universities, more affordable 2- and 4-year college, and support for trade and vocational education.
Finally, today, my agenda includes the protection of religious liberty, the promotion of family and support for the African-American church.
This is just the beginning. Because I will never, ever take the African-American community for granted. It will be my mission to prove to this country that yesterday does not have to be tomorrow. The cycle of poverty can be broken, and great new things can happen for our people.
But to achieve this future, we must reject the failed elites in Washington who've been wrong about virtually everything for decades.
The people opposing us promised that passing NAFTA, and opening our markets to China, would bring a new era of prosperity and job creation. Instead, they brought only poverty and heartache.
The people opposing us are the same people who've wasted $6 trillion on wars in the Middle East that have produced only more terrorism, more death, and more suffering—imagine if that money had been spent at home.
My opponent unleashed ISIS on the world. She tried to build Democracy in Libya, and failed. She tried to build Democracy in Iraq, and failed. She tried regime change in Egypt, and failed. She pressed regime change in Syria, and failed. She tried a Russian Reset that failed. She tried an Asia Pivot that failed. Now, Hillary Clinton wants to confront nuclear-armed Russia with a shooting war in Syria that could lead us into World War III.
Finally, our opponents passed a health care law, embraced by Hillary Clinton, over the furious objections of the American voter. Obamacare is now destroying our healthcare system; premiums are skyrocketing double-digits and are surging by more than 100 percent in the great state of Arizona. Doctors are quitting, insurers are leaving, and companies are fleeing. Every prediction they made about this law was a lie. If we don't repeal and replace this disastrous law, we will lose our health care system forever.
Now is the time to embrace a new direction.
I've been very lucky and have led a great life. Now I want to give back to the country which has been so good to me. I just left a hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., delivered under budget, and ahead of schedule, creating thousands of jobs, including construction. It will be one of the finest hotels anywhere in the world, and a great symbol for our country. I took two hours to fly into Washington, to cut the ribbon with my children, and then jump on the plane to be here with you. I wanted to be there for my children, who worked so hard on this hotel—parents must stick with, encourage and support their children. They did a great job on the hotel, and I told them so. Likewise, the workers did a magnificent job—without them, it could never have been built so quickly and so beautifully. The rebuilding we did of the Old Post Office is the rebuilding I want to do for our country.
I want to go into the inner cities, the poor rural communities, and the failing schools, and I want to work on a national plan for revitalization. I'm tired of the excuses from our politicians. I'm tired of being told what can't be done. I'm tired of people asking Americans to defer their dreams to another day, but really another decade.
Enough waiting. The time is now. There is nothing we can't accomplish. There is no task or project too great. There is no dream outside our reach.
Everywhere I go in this country, all I see is untapped potential waiting to be set free. But we will never realize that potential if we continue putting our faith in a broken political system that has let us down time and again. We have to choose the more optimistic path—we have to choose to believe not in our politicians, but to believe in ourselves and in our country. If we do that, anything is possible.
I'm asking America to join me in dreaming big and bold things for our future. Let's close the history books on the failures in Washington, and let's open a new chapter of success and prosperity for everyone.
I am humbled beyond words to be the nominee for the Party of Abraham Lincoln. And it is my highest and greatest hope that the Republican Party can be the home of the African-American vote once again.
Together, we will have a government of, by and for the people.
And we will Make America Great Again For All Americans.
Afterward, the speech drew enormous support from African-American leaders from around the country. Here are some of their reactions:
- Bruce LeVell, Executive Director of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump: "Donald Trump offers the change and optimism the African-American community has been denied by the Democrat machine for decades. The Washington establishment has spent their entire existence putting themselves first and falling short on empty promises that have hurt the African-American community. Donald Trump represents real change that will put all of America First, and on Nov. 8 we will see the American people choose Mr. Trump's common sense reforms over Hillary Clinton and the failed status quo."
- Ashley Bell, RNC Senior Strategist and National Director of African American Engagement: "When you need something built, you call a builder. Our inner cities need to be rebuilt and Donald Trump is the only candidate with a track record of results. The urban renewal plan Donald Trump has put forward will bring jobs back to African-American communities, empower parents to choose the best schools for their children and give our neighborhoods peace of mind knowing that Justice is our right. It is time to take action, and that means voting for Donald Trump on Election Day."
- Dr. Darrell Scott, Founder and Senior Pastor, New Spirit Revival Center, Cleveland, Ohio: "Today's address by Donald Trump is an extension of the long, honest conversation he has been having with leaders throughout the African-America community. Cities like Cleveland, East Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo would benefit from the thoughtful ideas on urban renewal that he presented in North Carolina today, as would many other cities around the country. In Donald Trump's America, no challenge is too big to solve, no obstacle too great to overcome.On Nov. 8, lets elect Donald Trump as the next president of the United States so we can meet these challenges and Make America Great Again."
- Linda Lee Tarver, President of the Republican Women's Federation of Michigan; Vice-Chair and Founding Member of the Alliance of Black Republicans: "While Hillary Clinton and her political allies continue their empty rhetoric to urban communities, Donald Trump has presented a plan to renew our inner cities and promote security and prosperity for all our citizens. Donald Trump has seen the problems we face in places like Flint and Detroit. As our next president, he'll go to work on Day One solving these problems, and he will get America back to work. We need a leader like Donald Trump in the White House."
- Wayne Dupree, Host of The Wayne Dupree Show: "Donald Trump's candidacy should be defined by his approach to the most challenging issues: employment, immigration, national security. Today, he outlined a serious approach to urban renewal that would benefit communities throughout the Commonwealth. He is the type of leader we need to shake up the corrupt Washington establishment and bring new ideas to renew cities like Richmond, HamptonRoads and Newport News. Hillary Clinton is all talk and no action—she has done nothing in her career to fix the challenges facing urban communities, and it's time for the bold, new leadership offered by Donald Trump."
- Calvin R. Tucker, Chair, Philadelphia Republican Black Council: "Donald Trump's speech outlining his plan for urban renewal is a thoughtful and serious approach to meet the challenges that face inner cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Unlike Hillary Clinton and her entrenched political allies, Donald Trump is willing to meet our challenges head on. On Nov. 8, let's elect a candidate who will bring true change to our urban areas. That candidate is Donald Trump."
- Dr. Ada M. Fisher, Republican National Committeewoman from North Carolina: "Cities like Charlotte know of the problems Donald Trump presented so honestly today in his address. While Hillary Clinton continues to pit Americans against each other, Donald Trump has outlined common-sense solutions that will get our inner cities working—and working together—once again. That is the type of leadership our country needs and deserves."
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