Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
President Donald J Trump’s presidency has thus far been dominated by accusations from his opponents of racism, misogyny, and of causing divisions in America. It would be very easy for armchair political observers to dismiss the 45th holder of the most powerful office on Earth as a racist, sexist, and demagogue. That is, if they engage in the lethargic mental process of confirmation bias, looking for verbal evidence that Donald Trump is these things. However, if we take a fleeting glance at the things this president has actually done in office, rather than just the decontextualised snippets of what he has said, a very different picture of the businessman and ex-reality TV star begins to emerge.
In December 2017 during his first year in office, Donald Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was the single most radical piece of tax reform in over thirty years. America’s Tax Foundation’s preliminary findings suggested that it would lead to a 1.7% increase in GDP, economic growth which would boost the federal budget by $1 trillion. Importantly, this law established Opportunity Zones (in which the average income is 37% below the State median), places identified as low-income communities across the nation. The Trump administration offered capital gains tax relief to investors in these communities, overwhelmingly identified as majority African American. Over the next eight years, these Zones are anticipated to benefit from $100 billion in private capital investment, improving the living standards of disadvantaged Americans of colour for generations. Donald Trump claimed during the presidential debates with his characteristically colourful language that inner-city minorities were ‘living in hell’. Subsequently, he promised to end the violence and bring back law and order, a promise on which he has delivered as president. Hillary Clinton’s response was one of empty words, accusing her rival of painting a ‘dire negative picture of black communities in our country’. Clinton promised bigger government in the form of one billion dollars to ‘better train police, [legislate]against racial profiling and [dismantle]the school-to-prison pipeline’. On the other hand, Trump promised, and delivered, on smaller government.
Trump holds White House event to celebrate six months since the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
On December 12, 2018, Trump signed an executive order which established the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. This focused on assisting ‘leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs’ in utilising the Opportunity Zone incentive to have maximum positive effect. Those on the Left like to view the black community in America as a homogeneous bloc with votes to be won. For instance, Clinton’s campaign suggested that young black voters were failing to support her simply because they were not reading her website, and Bette Midler made the outrageous suggestion that black Trump supporters were being paid to attend his rally. In contrast, Donald Trump has, amid a media blackout, overseen the lowest African American and Hispanic American unemployment on record. Furthermore, he has overseen the lowest female unemployment in 65 years, improving the lives of ordinary yet marginalised Americans with tangible change, rather than using communities to gain a moral high ground.
Trump is also accused of being a homophobe, and yet this year he became the first Republican president to mark Pride Month. Later at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, he announced that his ‘Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invites all nations to join us in this effort’. We do not have to rely on Trump’s own words, though – his senior spokesman, Judd Deere, is a gay man whose outgoing boss, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has said, ‘I focused on hiring the very best people, and that’s why I hired Judd. I am proud to have him on our team to help on LGBT issues as well as the many others in his portfolio’.
LGBT Trump supporters before a presidential debate in October 2016.
The president is called racist, but has worked tirelessly with Kim Kardashian West on his First Step Act and freeing prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug abuse crimes, a community crisis which disproportionately damages black communities. He has been called sexist, but would his daughter be such a ‘high level executive in his organization if he felt that way’, and would he be such an active supporter of equal workplace pay?
Trump’s words are inflammatory, even offensive at times. But he is making American lives good, and no unfounded accusation of being an [insert arbitrary slur here]will change that fact.