‘What the hell is a Black job?!’: Making sense of Trump and Biden’s debate spar over Black voters

Black voters’ concerns made it to the primetime stage during Thursday night’s presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. But following the four-minute exchange on issues concerning millions of Black Americans, many were left wondering what “Black jobs” are. 

Rather than presenting his policy plans to improve the lives of Black Americans, Trump turned to his signature grumbling about migrants flooding the U.S. border.

“His big kill on the Black people is the millions of people that he’s allowed to come in through the border,” said Trump. “They’re taking Black jobs now, and it could be 18, it could be 19, and even 20 million people, they’re taking Black jobs.”

Trump made a similar argument during a campaign visit to Detroit earlier this month, pitting immigrants against Black communities. After reprising the divisive talking point, however, “Black jobs” became a trending topic.

What the hell is a “Black job?!” wrote Jaime Harrison, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, on X, formerly Twitter. 

The Biden-Harris campaign lambasted Trump in a fiery exclusive statement to theGrio concerning Black voters, calling his “Black jobs” remarks yet another example of his “racism.”

“You wouldn’t know it from beltway coverage, but last night, Black Twitter came together and stood up against Trump’s continued racism, and made it very clear that Black America won’t be fooled by his erratic lies in the most viral moment of the debate. I’ll give Donald Trump $100 towards a new hair piece if he can explain to me what the hell a Black job is,” said Jasmine Harris, the Biden-Harris campaign’s director of Black media.

“Black voices across the internet made it very clear that Black America will be sending Joe Biden and Kamala Harris back to the White House come November to continue delivering historic progress on our behalf,” she said.

Influencers and Black personalities quickly joined in on the online memes generated by Trump’s debate comments. Despite chatter about Biden’s performance, which Vice President Kamala Harris conceded was a “slow start,” Black Twitter influencers signaled they were unswayed by Trump’s attempt to put Biden on the defense with the issue of Black voters.

“Baby Biden could have a heart attack and his eyeball could literally fall out live on camera I’m still not voting for trump,” wrote influencer Raymonte Coyle on X.

Former President Donald Trump’s remark about “Black jobs” during Thursday’s debate raised questions for many. (Photo by Kyle Mazza/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Trump’s “Black jobs” remark also garnered the attention of the nation’s leading civil rights group.

“There is no such thing as a ‘Black job,’” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a public statement. “Provided the opportunity, Black Americans excel across industries and professions. We need candidates who are going to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion, not attempt to mischaracterize Black workers as anything but American workers.”

“I don’t know what the former president meant by ‘Black jobs.’ It’s something he himself is not aware of,” Florida State Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Biden-Harris campaign surrogate, told theGrio. “What I can say is that there was one guy up there who doesn’t give a damn about Black people and one who has delivered for Black Americans, and that’s Joe Biden.”

Trump’s remark came during a portion of the 90-minute presidential debate when CNN’s Dana Bash asked Biden to respond to Black voters who were “disappointed” that he had not made “more progress” during his presidency.

While the president acknowledged that he didn’t “blame them for being disappointed,” he went through a laundry list of accomplishments his administration achieved to build Black wealth, including “more small Black businesses that have been started than any time in history” and the “lowest” Black unemployment rate in a “long, long time.” 

The president also highlighted the billions worth of student debt cancellations he issued, telling Bash that “millions” have benefited from this work. He added,  “We’re going to do a whole lot more for Black families.”

Biden highlighted other ways his administration has worked to improve access to wealth and drive down costs, like addressing racial discrimination in housing as a result of historic segregation practices and reducing the cost of child care to “increase economic growth” and allow more Black Americans to enter the job market.  

President Joe Biden highlighted steps his administration has taken that aid Black Americans while admitting there’s “considerably more to be done.” (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“There’s more to be done, considerably more to be done. But we’ve done a great deal so far,” said Biden. 

Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist and senior adviser to Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., a Biden confidant, told theGrio that, by contrast, Trump used “dog whistles” and a “divide-and-conquer tactic” when addressing Black communities. He said Trump’s economic record and its impact on Black communities were “disastrous” and said it would be “more disastrous next time around if given the opportunity.”

“[Black voters] should take him and his party and his supporters seriously about how Project 2025 will dismantle our government and our causes as we know them,” Seawright said of the conservative playbook for a potential second Trump administration. Project 2025 seeks to eliminate student debt relief programs and other federal programs and policies designed to address racial disparities. 

Contrastingly, Seawright said, “No other president can run the comparison chart of what Joe Biden has done on record for Black people, from insurance to unemployment to jobs to investments.” However, he said, the “disconnect” for some Black voters may be how Democrats “articulate that in a simplified way so that people understand it even though they may not feel all the effects of It just yet.”

Democratic strategist Joel Payne said that while Biden hit the top points on issues concerning Black voters that he needed to, his performance likely did nothing to move the needle. 

“If there’s a Black voter who is like … Biden’s got an interesting record, but I need to be convinced that he can deliver for me going forward, probably nothing changed about that last night,” he said. 

But the same can probably be said about Trump, he argued. 

“If you also think that Donald Trump is a brute and boorish and is somebody who you don’t trust on issues that matter to you and your family, nothing changed about that as well,” he added. “I don’t think anything that was said on that stage, for better or worse, really changed much for either candidate.”

Recommended Stories

Source link

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.