One lesson I’ve learned from working for Donald Trump is that you have to pay attention to what he does, not what he says. The left and the media are on a rampage accusing President Trump of being a racist and Nazi-KKK sympathizer because of his words in response to the horrid events in Charlottesville.
Let’s all accept two truths: first, that every sane person denounces the violence and racial hatred displayed in Charlottesville by far right-fringe white supremacists. And second that Mr. Trump should have shown better judgment in his seeming defense of these crazed groups carrying around torches and Confederate flags as if celebrating a darker period in our history.
Words matter for sure, but actions do speak louder than words. Leftists believe that good intentions are more important than results. If you meant well and your heart is in the right place, that’s what really matters according to this creed. As Bill Clinton put it so famously: “I feel your pain.” And that was enough.
No one cared more about the plight of black Americans than Barack Obama — our first black president — who won well more than 90 percent of the black vote. But the sad paradox of Mr. Obama’s presidency is that a president who was going to lift up black America economically, didn’t deliver. From 2009 to 2015 the incomes of black Americans fell by more than $900 per family adjusted for inflation.
So far under Mr. Trump median family incomes have risen by more than $1,000 according to Sentier Research and based on Census Bureau numbers. These numbers are not broken down by race, but it’s a pretty good bet that black incomes have risen with those of other races under Mr. Trump.
One example of an Obama/Democratic policy with good intentions that hurt black Americans was the minimum wage increase. This had a statistically significant negative effect on black teenage labor force participation rates by driving inner city youth with little training out of the workforce.
What about other metrics of black economic progress under Mr. Trump? It’s early for sure, but we have some preliminary results since election day, when the stock market started its latest bull market run.
The black unemployment rate has fallen by a full percentage point in the last year, black labor force participation is up, and the number of black Americans with a job has risen by 600,000 from last year. Preliminary data show black wages and incomes are up since the election.
The rate of job growth per month for blacks under Mr. Trump has so far been 40 percent higher than the monthly average under Mr. Obama. Mr. Trump has averaged nearly 30,000 new black jobs per month. That’s especially remarkable because Mr. Obama was elected when employment was way down and had only one direction to go.
The other issue that is critically important to black and Hispanic economic progress is good schools. No president has done more to advance school choice so that every child can attend a quality school public or private.
In cities like Washington, D.C. and Milwaukee, 90 percent of the children who benefit from these programs are black. Mr. Trump wants to increase these vouchers and scholarships to 10 times more black children. The goal here is to give every poor or minority child the same range of education choices that wealthy families have. A quality school should be available to all children regardless of race or income.
As the D.C. black parents I have talked to who participate in these scholarship programs have told me, “Why does Barack Obama get to send his kids to private schools, but not us?” Good question and one that no liberal has ever been able to answer.
Amazingly, the people who oppose the school choice program for black Americans that Mr. Trump is advancing are liberal elites. The same people who denounce Mr. Trump for what happened in Charlottesville, hypocritically oppose Mr. Trump’s ideas for better school options for black children.
I have heard many liberal commentators compare Donald Trump to the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who defended school segregation and stood in front of the white public schools with armed guards to keep the black children out.
Now we have liberals and teachers unions figuratively standing in front of the high quality white private schools like modern-day George Wallaces trying to keep black children out.
Wait. And Mr. Trump is the racist here? School choice is arguably the civil rights issue of our time and Mr. Trump stands with African American children while liberals stand with the educational blob.
Mr. Trump also wants more infrastructure spending, more energy jobs, and more apprenticeship programs so our youth have access to better jobs and better training. Disproportionately, blacks and other minorities will benefit from these programs, because fewer have the financial capability to go to a four-year college.
So is Mr. Trump a racist who doesn’t care about the future of black Americans? Let’s face it. He’s no Jack Kemp when it comes to talking about race and healing wounds with his words.
But Mr. Trump is creating jobs, higher incomes and trying to give a better education to every disadvantaged child in America. That is a pretty impressive civil rights record. If only the media would cover what he does with the same intense attention that they pay to what he says.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a senior economic analyst at CNN.