- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2020

President Trump made an economic appeal to blacks and blighted communities Friday during a visit to North Carolina, his first trip outside Washington since his acquittal in his impeachment trial.

Speaking at a community college in Charlotte, Mr. Trump highlighted his work on low-tax “opportunity zones” and other policies that have contributed to the lowest black unemployment and poverty rates in history.

“It’s a renaissance for African Americans,” Mr. Trump said. “I will not rest, I will not stop, I will not give up until we have delivered equal and abundant opportunity for every community in our land.”

There are about 9,000 opportunity zones nationwide, including about 250 in North Carolina. The designation gives preferential tax treatment for investment in them.

The president also introduced Pastor Tony Lowden of Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, who was appointed executive director of the administration’s Federal Interagency Council on Crime Prevention and Improving Reentry. A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Lowden is the first black pastor at the church of former President Jimmy Carter.

The pastor told the crowd that Mr. Trump’s efforts on criminal-justice reform and reviving poor communities are improving many lives.

“So many of our children are ending up in our prisons,” he said. “Too many of our soldiers come home with Old Glory on their shoulders but end up in our prisons. And we are better than that. So with this legislation that the president signed, now is the time to take this opportunity rebuild our communities.”

He added, “I encourage our faith-based organizations, our clergy, businesses, Chamber of Commerce and all our legislators: Now is the time to get together and get behind this president.”

As he often does, Mr. Trump pointed out that conditions for blacks weren’t as good under the administration of President Barack Obama. He said black citizens had “the worst crime numbers, worst housing ownership numbers, worst education, worst everything.”

“I’ve said, you’ve been with the Democrats for 100 years… and they treat you badly,” Mr. Trump said. “And they only come around two months before the election. And then right after the election, they say bye-bye, we’ll see you in two years or four years. But they come around and they work real hard when they want you to vote.”

He said he’ll return to the battleground state often this year on the campaign trail.

“We’ll be coming here a lot,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re way up in the polls, but I pretend we’re one point down everywhere. That way, you work your ass off. You see what’s happening on the other side. They want to take everything away. It’s not going to happen.”

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