“What the hell do you have to lose?” then-candidate Donald J. Trump asked the black community during his 2016 campaign. Despite what many pundits and pollsters predicted, Trump ended up receiving 8 percent of the black vote, which was notably higher than what John McCain and Mitt Romney received.
Trump boldly proclaimed at his inauguration, “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.” He singled out “mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities” and “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.” Clearly, he meant every word.
Fast forward to 2018 and we can see President Trump turning campaign rhetoric into federal policy for the betterment of all Americans, especially those in fragile communities and black Americans. His “jobs and justice” agenda has focused on criminal justice reform, Opportunity Zones, and tremendous rule changes at the Department of Labor that will make positive impacts in the lives of minority small business owners and those with 401ks.
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said it best at the Opportunity and Revitalization Council Executive Order signing when he told President Trump “without out any question without out your leadership our Senate would not have made the decision to take it up in 2018 so when it passes the credit starts at the White House & starts with President Donald J. Trump.” Because that is true. When the senator raised the plan to include this in his historic tax cut package, the president was fully on board and championed its inclusion and implementation. Opportunity Zones are designed to be a catalyst for investment in fragile communities by incentivizing about $100B in investments in the 8,700 designated zones across the country.
The black community actually has a lot to gain from the president’s jobs and justice agenda. In just over two years, President Trump has shown himself to be committed to making bold changes that are overwhelmingly good for people of color. Democrats sitting on the sidelines, tearing down every Trump supporter and administration staffer, threatening impeachment and baseless investigations do not do anything to bring the country together or solve our problems.
In one tweet, President Trump challenged Senate leadership to bring the First Step Act bill to the floor for a vote in 2018. It happened; the vote will take place. Through strong advocacy from Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Brooke Rollins coupled with a broad bipartisan grassroots coalition that included the likes of Dr. Bernice King, Van Jones, Kim Kardashian West and dozens of conservative organizations, prison reform is a reality because of one man,:President Trump.
This legislation will change lives because Americans will have a second chance at life, children can have a second chance with their fathers, communities can have a second chance at growing their local economies. This is really a pro-family, pro-economy bill that must pass. The GOP-led House, Senate and White House can do something that will have a truly transformative impact on the black community. This is the type of results President Trump was talking about on the campaign trail.
When people ask what prominent black conservative Trump supporters fight for, what we advocate for, and how we push with our seat at the table, this is it. Katrina Pierson, Pastor Darrell Scott, Candace Owens and so many others are pushing our party in the right the direction with support from the president of the United States.
We saw the president’s labor secretary put forth two rule changes that are major victories for minorities. Associates Health Plans that open up more opportunities for millions of small business owners to access affordable health care options, previously not afforded to them under Obamacare. Additionally, with the support of people like BET Founder Robert L. Johnson, the Labor Department’s Auto portability rule change for 401ks allowing Americans, especially minorities the ability to preserve their retirement savings when they change jobs, preventing people from having to cash out and face harsh financial penalties.
We also saw the president move the White House initiative on HBCUs to the White House, and refuse to cut Historically Black College and University (HBCU) support in his budget. The Minority Business Development Agency recently announced $2M in awards to HBCUs this year. The Trump administration is on track to become the greatest champion for HBCUs with its continued support and budgetary increases with the help of the 115th GOP controlled Congress. President Trump is leading to make HBCUs a national priority.
Senate Republicans must continue to lead, have the moral conservative courage to do what is right and end 2018 on a high note for my community.
President Trump’s inaugural address should be our legislative guidepost. He laid out the vision when he said “We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag and whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look at the same night sky, and dream the same dreams, and they are infused with breath by the same almighty creator.”
Donald J. Trump’s actions as president prove we should no longer ask what we have to lose, but instead ask, what more do we want to gain?
Paris Dennard (@ParisDennard) is a member of President Trump’s Commission on White House Fellows. He worked previously as director of black outreach in the George W. Bush White House.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.