Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: Trump’s Record on Criminal Justice and Economic Issues Makes Plain Why His Job Approval Sits at Just 2 Percent With Black Voters
Press Release

RELEASE: Trump’s Record on Criminal Justice and Economic Issues Makes Plain Why His Job Approval Sits at Just 2 Percent With Black Voters

President Donald Trump will address criminal justice reform at historically Black Benedict College on Friday.

Washington, D.C. — Tomorrow, President Donald Trump will travel to South Carolina to deliver the keynote address at the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College—a historically Black college. The address will take place just days after President Trump received harsh criticism for comparing the constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry into his actions regarding Ukraine to a “lynching.” Lynching is a term often associated with mob killings of African Americans during the Jim Crow era.

President Trump’s address comes as his campaign is expected to launch its outreach efforts to Black voters and as a new Quinnipiac poll shows that President Trump’s total alienation of Black voters is hurting him badly. President Trump’s job approval rating has dropped to an all-time low of 2 percent with Black voters, with 88 percent of Black voters supporting his impeachment and removal from office.

This summer, President Trump tweeted that he is “responsible for Criminal Justice Reform” after signing the First Step Act into law. However, the totality of President Trump’s record on criminal justice, economic, and other issues paints a drastically different reality. President Trump has rolled back virtually every meaningful criminal justice reform effort from the previous administration and has doubled down on pursuing harsh punishments, frequent arrests, and more incarceration. 

Here are 10 facts on how President Trump’s criminal justice, economic, and other legislative records have hurt Black Americans:

  1. The Trump administration has rolled back federal investigations into police misconduct. President Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has retreated from Obama-era investigations into police agencies across the country that have been criticized for unconstitutional policing practices.
  2. The Trump administration has pushed for the expansion of the death penalty in drug cases. Black Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to be arrested for drug possession and are far more likely to receive the death penalty.
  3. The Trump administration eliminated restrictions preventing police departments from obtaining military equipment. Police are almost four times more likely to use force against Black people than against white people. President Trump’s DOJ eliminated training and supervision requirements for law enforcement seeking to obtain surplus weapons.
  4. The Trump administration reinstated DOJ contracts with private prisons. Private prisons profit from the incarceration of individuals and house a greater share of immigrants and people of color than public prisons. 
  5. The Black-white wage gap is increasing. Since President Trump took office, the gap between median earnings for Black and white Americans has increased to 28 percent.
  6. The Black-white wealth gap is increasing. Black Americans own about one-tenth of the wealth of white Americans. Trump’s tax bill is exacerbating this gap with tax cuts slanted toward corporations and the wealthy, who are disproportionately white.
  7. Black homeownership is decreasing. Black homeownership has declined during Trump’s presidency, and the gap between Black and white homeownership rates has increased to 32 percent.
  8. President Trump’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) sabotage would disproportionately hurt Black Americans. The Trump administration is actively trying to repeal the ACA. If the law were overturned, the loss in coverage would disproportionately harm Black people, causing millions of Black Americans to lose health care coverage.
  9. Predatory for-profit colleges disproportionately harm Black students. For-profit colleges take advantage of students by engaging in deceptive tactics. Seventy percent of Black Americans who borrow to attend a for-profit college default on their loans. But President Trump’s Department of Education has discontinued investigations into corporations accused of defrauding students and stalled efforts to cancel the debts of students who attended these schools.
  10. Trump has rejected election security legislation and renewed calls for restrictive voter ID laws. Black voters are disproportionately disenfranchised by voter ID laws. The Trump administration has continued false claims of voter fraud to interfere in state elections from the federal government.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Freedom Alexander Murphy at [email protected] or 202-796-9712.