OP-ED: Even Reagan did more for Black people than Trump, and that wasn’t much

Leonard Greene
New York Daily News (TNS)
President Donald Trump, third from right, reacts as he stands with his family members after delivering his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)

Unless we just missed it when he signed voting and civil rights legislation, desegregated the military and made Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday, President Donald Trump might want to think about retracting the most laughable line in his Republican nomination acceptance speech.

Because by acting like he’s the savior of African Americans while demonstrators from coast to coast protest against racial injustice and police brutality, Trump risks losing the support of even the six or seven token Black people who sold their souls to trumpet his dangerous lies at the Republican Party lovefest.

“I say very modestly, I have done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president,” Trump told supporters Thursday night from the South Lawn of the political prop known as the White House.

That of course would include Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, whose mere election as the first Black president uplifted the African American community in ways that can never be measured.

It wasn’t the first time Trump made the claim. But this was his biggest stage for the lie, against a backdrop of a racial upheaval so pronounced that even pampered professional athletes are boycotting their games in protest.

Lincoln, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson must get a good laugh in their Oval Office afterlife every time Trump talks or tweets about what he has done to advance the Black agenda.

Lincoln freed the slaves. Truman desegregated the military. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and boldly proclaimed, “We Shall Overcome,” which in 1965 was the equivalent of saying “Black Lives Matter.”

Even Ronald Reagan, no favorite of Black people, signed the bill that made King’s birthday a national holiday after initially opposing the legislation.

Still, Trump wants to crow about the economy he inherited and claim responsibility for the lowest African American unemployment rate in modern times.

But that was before he dropped the ball on the pandemic response and contributed to a crisis that has disproportionately affected Black people on the medical and economic fronts.

Throw in Trump’s love of law and order over police brutality victims, his support of white supremacists and his disdain for immigrants from “s---thole countries,” and it’s easy to see why Trump is so misguided.

Trump went on to say he has “done more in three years for the Black community than Joe Biden has done in 47 years. And when I am reelected, the best is yet to come.”

Say this about Joe Biden: Few white men would have signed on to play second fiddle to the nation’s first Black president. Even fewer would have made history by picking a Black woman to help him run the country.

Trump can take credit for helping to unite Black people to get him out of office. For that, he can take a bow.

— Leonard Greene is a reporter and columnist for the New York Daily News.