I want America to prosper, and President-elect Donald Trump’s future is now inextricably tied to America’s future. My hope is that Mr. Trump will surround himself with knowledgeable, principled individuals so that he can steer our nation through what seems to be a period of extraordinary anxiety, uncertainty, and divisiveness. I am desperately hopeful that he will rise to the occasion. At the same time, there are aspects of Trump’s journey to the White House that I will never forget.
I will never forget the so-called birther movement, a campaign that disputed President Obama’s U.S. citizenship. One could argue that Mr. Trump championed the cause for several years. A 2011 Gallup poll tells us that the belief that President Obama was not born in the United States survived the release of his long-form birth certificate. The so-called birther movement reminded me of one of the hallmarks of prejudice against blacks: unjustified suspicion.
I will also never forget that Mr. Trump retweeted a bogus race-based crime statistic that claimed that blacks killed 81 percent of white homicide victims. Imagine the kinds of criminal justice policies someone that believes this might support. The FBI’s 2014 crime statistics clearly show that whites kill 82 percent of white homicide victims. Crime statistics are knowable and easily obtainable, and yet Trump’s retweet received thousands of likes and shares. Now, I do not believe that all Trump supporters are hate-filled racists, and I cannot say for certain whether or not Donald Trump hates blacks. However, it is indisputable that spreading falsehoods about the criminality of black people did not disqualify him from the highest office in America. I find that deeply troubling.
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump had the luxury of only being a critic. The election is over. Now he must govern. According to Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter,” he pledged to create 25 million new jobs over the next decade, fully repeal and replace “Obamacare,” and build a wall along America’s southern border and make Mexico repay the U.S. for it. Interestingly, President-elect Trump has recently stated that he will try to keep two parts of “Obamacare.” Whether his supporters view this as an example of compromise or dishonesty remains to be seen. As always, I will be following future public policy changes and paying close attention to whose lives they affect. I would encourage everyone to do the same.
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