CHARLOTTE, NC -- Donald Trump laid out today a set of policies aimed at African-Americans, a group that has shown an aversion to him in the past, as evidenced by dismal poll numbers.
"I want to talk about how to grow the African-American middle class and provide a new deal for black America, that deal is grounded in three promises. Safe communities, great education and high paying jobs.”
Trump, who has frequently characterized African-Americans as living in a hellish existence in the "inner cities," rolled out a series of new proposals, including micro loans for budding black entrepreneurs, federal disaster funding for blighted communities and ensuring funding for historically black colleges and universities.
He sought to link the fate of African-Americans to the extrication of illegal immigrants and refugees.
"One of the greatest betrayals has been the issue of immigration. Illegal immigration violates the civil rights of African-Americans that's what's been happening. No group has been more economically harmed by decades of illegal immigration than low-income African-American workers,” Trump said.
Trump also vowed to reform visa rules and "suspend reckless refugee admissions from terror prone regions that cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.”
But, intermingled in his remarks, were false and misleading statistics about poverty and crime within the black community.
At one point Trump said: "58 percent of African-American youth are not currently employed."
But this number includes black youth who are not legally working age -- therefore unable to work even if there were jobs available. He also cited a murder rate that was the highest it’s been in 45 years. Statistics from FBI Uniform crime rate show that the crime rate rose nationally by 10.8 percent from 2014 to 2015. While that is the largest single-year increase since 1970, the murder rate in 2015 is half of what it was 25 years ago.
Trump has also been criticized for painting a partially misleading and overtly grim portrait of African-Americans. He spoke as he often does about "inner city" life; more black Americans live in the suburbs than anywhere else.
According to Census Data from 2015, 52.9 percent of all black Americans aged 25 or older hold some sort of college degree. A Pew report released in December shows that black adults experienced the largest income increase from 1971 to 2015 and were the only racial group to see a decrease in the percentage of their low-income earners.
Nonetheless, Trump insisted that his policies would help.
"It’s gonna be beautiful. Such talent. There’s such a potential talent it’s so incredible and it’s totally being wasted wasted by politicians that maybe don’t want to see it happen,” he said.