Trump leans into off-the-wall race-baiting in remarks about American suburbs as Biden's electoral fortunes rise
In an effort to bolster his campaign less than 100 days before Election Day, President Donald Trump is leaning into off-the-wall race-baiting — a tactic that seems out-of-touch in the 21st century. The president once again attacked an Obama-era fair-housing regulation during a press conference on Wednesday, and he made an off-hand remark pointing to the lack of diversity in the American suburbs. His dependency on race-baiting tactics is also evident after his campaign released mugshots of Black inmates in an attempt to smear the Biden campaign — recalling a similar tactic used by the Bush campaign in 1988.
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President Donald Trump has become reliant on decades-old racist tropes in a feeble attempt to bolster support for his campaign, as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continues to rise in the polls. In a press conference on Wednesday, the president railed against fair-housing regulations, labeling such a policy an "invasion" in the American suburbs, and saying this "invasion" would happen if Biden and newly-selected running mate Kamala Harris were elected. "They're going to destroy suburbia. And just so you understand, 30+% of people living in suburbia are minorities — African American, Asian American, Hispanic American," Trump said during the press conference. "The number's even higher; they say 35, but I like to cut it a little lower." "When they go in and they want to change zoning so that you have lots of problems or they want to build low-income housing, you want something where people kind of aspire to be there, not something where it gets hurt badly," he continued. "They fought all their lives to be there and then all of a sudden, they have something happen that changes their life and changes what they fought for, for so many years."
Trump explains the coming "invasion" of suburbia and how "minorities" are involved. pic.twitter.com/lWa777Cmbf — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) August 13, 2020
In a tweet earlier Wednesday, Trump also asserted that the "suburban housewife" will vote for him because "they want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge!" Sen. Booker is one of two Black men in the US Senate. Trump is referring to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson effectively ended in 2018 after it was enacted by the Obama administration in 2015. The rule was added to make sure that local governments were following a clause in the Fair Housing Act, as FactCheck.org pointed out. The AFFH required jurisdictions that get HUD funding to submit a plan on how they would address fair housing, which was defined by HUD as "taking meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics." It did not require localities to change their zoning laws, though localities may decide to do so in order to further fair housing. "No, it emphatically does not require low-income housing to be built in suburban areas," Cary Coglianese, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, explained to FactCheck.org. "It also does not impose federal control over local zoning laws. Rather, it clarified a planning process that local governments already had a statutory obligation to undertake in connection with the receipt of federal HUD funding." Beyond mischaracterizing what the fair-housing rule does, Trump has recently taken to claiming that the rule (and his view of the rule) is hurting suburbia. Though when pressed, he has not said who is "invading" the suburbs. The president has not explicitly made a connection between the mention of the lack of diversity in American suburbs and his opposition against the integration of low-income housing — with racial and ethnic minorities making up a majority of those who rely on it. But it does display Trump's implicit correlation between lower-income housing and crime, rather than with increased opportunity and diversity. (Trump also regularly lashes out at cities and crime.) Trump has repeatedly slammed the Obama-era fair-housing mandate designed to combat housing segregation and discrimination. Before officially ending the regulation, he threatened in a tweet to roll back the rule, citing its "devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas." The president's latest attacks on fair housing exemplify his dependence on off-the-wall race-baiting against low-income populations to win the suburban vote — which as the president said on Wednesday are majority white. Earlier this week, Trump's campaign tweeted photos of released Black inmates and their alleged charges in a pointed attack against the Biden campaign. The four Minnesotan defendants were released on bail with the help of the Minnesota Freedom Fund. More than a dozen Biden staffers donated to the nonprofit after it rose to prominence following the death of George Floyd, Reuters reported.
Remember Willie Horton? President Trump's campaign is tweeting mugshots of black people to attack Joe Biden. pic.twitter.com/ursYZoXv5b — Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) August 11, 2020
People were quick to point out that the move mirrored similar fear-mongering tactics in 1988 to support former President George H.W. Bush. The Bush campaign attempted to smear his opponent, then-Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts as soft on crime, by creating a political ad about William "Willie" Horton, a convicted felon who was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Horton was temporarily released from prison as part of a weekend furlough program, but Horton did not return to prison as intended and raped a white woman and stabbed her boyfriend in 1986. Dukakis did not personally sign off on Horton's release, though he was in support of the furlough program, thus leading to the Bush campaign accusing him of not being tough enough on crime in the state.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly
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It's almost debate time, where the oldest men ever to run for president are getting ready for a geriatric slog to prove who's more (or less) fit for the White House
Summary List Placement When Donald Trump and Joe Biden square off in their first debate later...Summary List Placement When Donald Trump and Joe Biden square off in their first debate later this month the mere act of showing up or uttering a fully formed sentence may be enough to declare victory. That's because their Sept. 29 showdown in Cleveland represents the first in-person interaction between the oldest two men to ever run against each other for president. It's a debate that has all the makings of an epic geriatric slug fest where the two campaigns are themselves engaged in dueling charges that the other's candidate is unsuited to hold the most powerful job on the planet. President Trump has been tarring his Democratic rival for years with allegations that he is mentally deteriorating, all while beating back questions of his own faltering health. Biden has yet to attack Trump in the same way — with the stark exception of promising in 2018 that he would have physically "beat the hell" out of Trump if they were in school together. For voters, the debate ahead promises to be a revealing opportunity to study both men as they stand side-by-side. Aides to the 77-year old Biden and the 74-year old Trump told Insider they expected uncomfortable health questions to be raised by the moderators, if not by the candidates' themselves. "You have two very old dudes with a lot of miles on their chassis, it's 100 percent fair the American public gets to look under the hood," said a Republican close to the Trump campaign. "If a man can't talk about his taxes, you think he's going to talk about his prostate exam?" Who remembers Al Gore's sighs? Presidential debate moments have rarely centered on who landed the best punch. More likely to be remembered is who slipped or stumbled. Back in 2000, Al Gore's audible sighs during his debate came off as arrogant and dismissive of Republican nominee George W. Bush. President George H.W. Bush couldn't shake the negative headlines after he checked his watch while jousting in 1992 with Bill Clinton. And Richard Nixon, sporting a 5 o'clock shadow, famously looked unnerved during the very first televised US presidential debate in 1960 as he visibly sweated through his showdown against a younger John F. Kennedy. Here in 2020, the first Trump versus Biden debate comes amid rampant health questions surrounding both men — much of it fueled from inside the two opposing camps. Trump's inner circle has privately speculated that Biden may be taking special Alzheimer's drugs to perform well at campaign stops and on-stage. That chatter led Trump to say in late August that he would request Biden take a drug test before their first debate, according to one Trump adviser. Twitter on Monday also tagged a video posted by Trump's social media director Dan Scavino, which was fabricated to make it look like Biden slept through a television interview. The video spliced in footage of Biden appearing to sleep over 2011 footage of Harry Belafonte with his eyes closed and not responding when a reporter tried to ask him questions. The president made the issue even more relevant when he sent out a tweet denying he had "mini-strokes" or a "stroke." That came amid a headline that the Department of Homeland Security suppressed a report that Russia was spreading disinformation on the 77-year old Biden's health. Trump's attacks on Biden aren't coming from thin air. The former Delaware senator and vice president has a long history of his own tripping over his words that dates back decades. In 2008, he called Barack Obama "articulate" — which garnered accusations of racism. Last year, Biden flubbed a story about pinning a medal on a war hero. He became so distinctly associated with misspeaking that he dubbed himself a "gaffe machine". But Biden during his 2020 campaign has also opened up about his health issues, sharing his personal story about overcoming stuttering. And while Biden himself has avoided direct attacks on the president his supporters have cast Trump as mentally and physically unfit to serve as president. Trump deflects health questions Trump enters the first debate with attacks on Biden's health having persistently deflected questions about his own fitness for years. The president avoided serving in the Vietnam War by claiming he had bone spurs, though his former lawyer Michael Cohen testified last year that Trump faked the malady to dodge the draft. When Trump ran in 2016, his doctor let Trump dictate a note claiming Trump was in top shape despite a steady diet of fast food, cable news and Twitter. In other words: Trump said Trump was in great shape. Almost immediately upon taking office, Trump's closest allies speculated that his Cabinet members would try to invoke the 25th Amendment which allows for the removal of an incapacitated president. An anonymous aide inside the White House recounted discussions of removing Trump because of his "instability" in an unsigned op-ed in 2018. Through it all, Trump's White House doctors have insisted he is in perfect shape. But an unexplained trip to Walter Reed Hospital in November 2019 renewed questions of Trump's health. Then came an anecdote in New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt's new book that Vice President Mike Pence had been placed on "standby" during that visit if Trump had to undergo a procedure. The focus on Trump's health only amplified this year after he struggled to lift a cup of water at the West Point graduation ceremony and then faltered down a ramp off the stage. Matthew Drudge, who helped Trump spread rumors of Hillary Clinton's health in 2016, posted a clip of Trump dragging his right leg on a trip two months ago. In July, Trump attempted to dismiss questions of his own faculties by stating he had passed a dementia screening test. He said he asked his doctors to administer the test to prove to the public he was in fine shape and rebut "fake news" questions. Biden's strategy: Ignore the attacks on his health Biden has largely ignored Trump's baiting over his age, his speech patterns, and his health. As Trump tweeted a message about "Sleepy Joe Hiden" on Thursday morning, Biden was en route to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to meet with the family members of Jacob Blake. It appears the Biden strategy is to ignore Trump's attacks — and focus on big picture issues like the pandemic and the economy. And while Trump and his team had hoped Biden would flub his convention speech, he came out looking strong with a message about the dangers of presidential incompetence. Democratic insiders interviewed for this article said any talk about Biden's health could even be advantageous for the former vice president because it sets the bar very low for the first debate. The Biden campaign has not disclosed any updated fitness plans for the former vice president, even though Biden appears to be a bit slimmer — and more tan — than when he debated his primary challengers earlier this year. The campaign last year disclosed some of Biden's fitness regimen to both Men's Health and the New York Times. The Men's Health article noted Biden does weight lifting and cardio, including using a rowing machine and a Peloton. "His eating habits include fruit juice and Greek yogurt for breakfast and salads with protein—usually fish—for lunch and dinner. Biden also indulges in the occasional pasta and red sauce and ice cream," the story said. Officially, a campaign spokesman on Thursday called Trump's attacks on Biden's mental acuity "laughable" and a deflection of his own insecurities. "Donald Trump is an undisputed expert at projecting his own insecurities and weaknesses onto others, and his laughable attacks on Vice President Biden's fitness are a prime example," spokesman Mike Gwin said in a statement to Insider. "This is the same president who told Americans to inject themselves with disinfectant to cure themselves of COVID-19, and who repeatedly bragged about passing a simple dementia test. Instead of flailing and echoing smears from a Russian disinformation campaign designed to prop him up, Trump should finally focus on doing his job, and take long overdue steps to address the pandemic that's taken 180,000 American lives and wrecked the economy on his watch." The Biden campaign also pointed to three individual polls conducted in June and July that found voters found the Democratic nominee to be more mentally and physically able to serve as president than Trump. A July Fox News poll found 47% of registered voters polled said Biden had mental soundness to be an effective president, compared to Trump at 43%. A Monmouth poll showed Biden leading Trump 52% to 45% when those polled were asked whether they had the physical and mental stamina to carry out the job of the president. According to a December 2019 note from Biden's physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, Biden is an "active 77-year-old" who is being treated for non-valvular atrial fibrillation — but does not take medication. A recent echo-cardiogram found no signs of heart failure, and Biden takes a drug to prevent blood clots. Biden also takes medication to control his lipid levels, which remain low, his doctor wrote. Biden also suffers from occasional symptoms of acid reflux, "primarily having to clear his throat more often," the doctor wrote. He uses over the counter Nexium for that ailment, the note reads. Biden, too, suffers from seasonal allergies and takes both a nasal spray and over the counter allergy pill for symptoms. "He does not use any tobacco products, does not drink alcohol at all, and he works out at least five days per week," O'Connor wrote. The doctor wrote that Biden has no history of any neurological disorder, but he noted that "the most note-worthy" health incident the former vice-president experienced was an intracranial hemorrhage from a cerebral aneurysm in 1988, which was repaired surgically. "He has never had any recurrences of any aneurysms," the note says. "Vice President Biden is a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief," O'Connor wrote in his note. Setting debate expectations When Trump and Biden debate in Cleveland, the rhetorical stage will have already been set through a game of lowering and raising expectations to shade how the public (and the press) view their performances. Trump's blasting away at Biden's alleged frailties may have the opposite effect of making it easier for Biden to come out looking strong, Trump advisers told Insider. "I think the bar has been lowered so much for Biden," said one adviser to the president. As long as he shows up it's gonna be considered an enormous victory." The Trump adviser brushed off questions of the president's vigor by arguing he is working harder than ever on the campaign trail with stamina akin to his successful 2016 bid. Another Republican close to the president's campaign said that Trump and his team already stumbled once by hitting Biden repeatedly on his health only to see the Democrat upstage them with a strong acceptance speech last month at the party's national convention. "Look at how they mishandled the Biden speech, when he made it to the podium he made it look like he won," the Republican said. Officially, the Trump campaign's focus has been to tamp down expectations for their candidate ahead of the first in-person face off with Biden. "If you asked the president," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said on a call with reporters Wednesday, "he would say he is preparing for the debates by running the country as president." Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
Republican convention speakers repeatedly focus on crime and urban unrest, blaming Democrats. The tactic may peel...Republican convention speakers repeatedly focus on crime and urban unrest, blaming Democrats. The tactic may peel some voters away from Joe Biden.
Trump campaign tweeted mugshots of released Black inmates in a callous attempt to smear the Biden campaign, which some said channeled the racist Bush campaign 'Willie Horton' ad
The Trump campaign tweeted four headshots of released Minnesotan defendants, blaming the Biden campaign and its...The Trump campaign tweeted four headshots of released Minnesotan defendants, blaming the Biden campaign and its staffers for their release. Many saw comparisons between the Trump campaign's tweets and the infamous "Willie Horton" ads run in support of President George H.W. Bush's campaign for president against then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in 1988. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The Trump campaign posted four tweets on Tuesday containing the mugshots of released Minnesotan defendants and their alleged criminal charges in an attempt to hurt presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign. The tweets mirrored a 1988 racially stoked advertisement in support of President George H.W. Bush. The tweets were posted just hours before Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Darnika Floyd is an alleged murderer who was in jail for stabbing a man to death.Now she's free thanks in part to Biden campaign officials who donated to pay bail fees. Does Joe Biden regret his campaign putting Americans in danger? https://t.co/UzSNt06fuC pic.twitter.com/RwfB5LBxAg — Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) August 11, 2020 The defendants were released from jail by the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a nonprofit which gained considerable attention after large scale protests in Minneapolis in late May. In the weeks following George Floyd's death, the Minnesota Freedom Fund received over $30 million in donations, according to a report from The New York Times. While Biden himself did not donate to the nonprofit, a recent report from Reuters found that at least 13 Biden staffers donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Though never mentioned directly, some quickly pointed out that the Trump campaign's tweets take a page out of President Bush's "Willie Horton" ad in 1988. Attempting to stoke racial fears in white communities to damage his opponent's run, the Bush campaign created a political ad detailing the story of William "Willie" Horton. Horton was a convicted felon and sentenced to life in prison for murder. He was a member of a Massachusetts weekend furlough program, which allowed him to leave the prison on the weekend to work or spend time at home. After leaving the prison one weekend in 1986, Horton did not return, ultimately raping a white woman and assaulting her white boyfriend before being captured in 1987, according to The New York Times. Bush's Democratic opponent, Dukakis, was the governor of Massachusetts during Horton's release. Before Dukakis was elected governor, a Republican governor passed the weekend furlough program. While Dukakis did not create the program, he was a supporter of it, which Bush used to convince voters that Dukakis was soft on crime. Tuesday's tweets are not the first time the Trump campaign has used the Bush-era tactic. In 2018, Trump released an ad blaming Democrats for a cop-killing immigrant, which was also seen as similar to the 1988 Bush ads. Trump also released similar ads in 2015 against presidential candidate Jeb Bush, which edited together images of undocumented immigrants alleged of murder alongside a quote from Jeb Bush which said that illegal immigrants come to the United States out of an "act of love" for their families. The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why Pikes Peak is the most dangerous racetrack in America