Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, provoked outrage after telling Fox and Friends on Monday that President Trump’s policies would be good for the Black community, but seemed to imply that some Black people don’t “want to be successful.”
“One thing we’ve seen in a lot of the Black community, which is mostly Democrat, is that President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about," he told the hosts, “but he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.”
The comments quickly provoked outrage and disbelief that Mr Kushner seemed to be writing off the work ethic of an entire community. Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who is representing the family of Breonna Taylor, tweeted that, “This blatant DISRESPECT shows he has NO understanding of the Black community.”
Jared Kushner speaks as if Black people are lazy complainers who don't want to be successful. This blatant DISRESPECT shows he has NO understanding of the Black community and its challenges that have spanned centuries. You can't "fix" these problems from this level of ego. pic.twitter.com/fmILMVbrzY
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) October 26, 2020
Of this I am certain: The average Black person in this country puts in more work by noon than Jared Kushner puts in the whole damn day. https://t.co/exYSJZ6pAp
— Hakeem Jefferson (@hakeemjefferson) October 26, 2020
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Mr Kushner and said his comments were taken out of context.
“It’s disgusting to see internet trolls taking Senior Advisor Jared Kushner out of context as they try to distract from President Trump’s undeniable record of accomplishment for the Black community," she told The Hill.
“You saw a lot of people who were just virtue signaling—they go on Instagram and cry, or they would, you know, put a slogan on their jersey or write something on a basketball court,” Kushner said. “Quite frankly, that was doing more to polarize the country than it was to bring people forward. You solve problems with solutions.”
The presidential adviser pointed to efforts on criminal justice reform, tax breaks for real estate investors in “opportunity zones,” and supporting historically black colleges and universities as proof of how the Trump administration is helping Black people and generating a “groundswell of support" in the Black community.
Mr Kushner acknowledged that most Black people support the Democratic party, but said, “Unlike most politicians who’ve been in Washington for decades who talk and say all the right things, President Trump may not always say the right things, but he does the right things.”
Democratic nominee Joe Biden is projected to get more than 70 percent of the Black vote, according to recent research from FiveThirtyEight, less than Democrats in previous years, but still a seemingly decisive edge.