Jared Kushner under fire after saying Black Americans must ‘want to be successful’

Mildred Europa Taylor October 27, 2020
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner at a working breakfast with US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Susan Walsh/AP)

White House adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is being criticized after he said Monday that Black people must first “want to be successful” before the president’s policies can help them.

“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,” Kushner said on “Fox & Friends.” “But he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.”

Kushner, who praised rapper Ice Cube for agreeing to meet with him and Trump to talk about ideas to help Black Americans, also described the protests that came in the wake of George Floyd’s killing as “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.

“Quite frankly, that was doing more to polarize the country than it was to bring people forward. You solve problems with solutions,” Kushner said.

Kushner’s comments suggesting that Black people do not want to be successful have since sparked outrage on Twitter.

“Jared Kushner speaks as if Black people are lazy complainers who don’t want to be successful,” said Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney who represented Floyd’s family. “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.” 

“Jared Kushner is the face of white privilege and nepotism. He doesn’t want to change our racist, broken system because he benefits from it. He’s the last person that should be lecturing the Black community on the value of ‘hard work,'” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. 

“Born on third base, thinks he hit a triple. Few in US history have been given as much wealth or power without having to earn a thing as Jared Kushner,” tweeted Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. “His father-in-law gave him the position he is failing at miserably, with deadly consequences. We will remember his casual racism.” 

But White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a statement said Kushner’s remarks have been taken out of context “to distract from President Trump’s undeniable record of accomplishment for the Black community.”

“From criminal justice reform and record HBCU funding to record low Black unemployment and record high income increases, there is simply no disputing that President Trump accomplished what Democrats merely talked about,” she said.

Trump is making efforts to woo Black voters with what he calls the Black Economic Empowerment “Platinum Plan,” which he unveiled in September during a campaign event in Atlanta.

The Plan includes prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan and Antifa as terrorist organizations, making lynching a national hate crime, and establishing Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of U.S. slavery, as a federal holiday. The Plan will also invest $500 billion in Black communities, create more jobs, increase access to capital in Black communities, lower the cost of healthcare, support Black-owned businesses, among others.

Speaking during the event at the majority-Black city of Atlanta, Trump promised to always “put Americans first and that includes very, very importantly Black Americans.”

An earlier statement released by Paris Dennard, senior communications advisor for Black media affairs, said: “President Trump’s return to Atlanta, GA will lay out his second term vision for Black America. Capitalizing off a successful first term of unprecedented accomplishments for the Black community, the Black Economic Empowerment-Platinum Plan is a gamechanger for Black Americans and will lead to historic opportunities, security, prosperity and fairness for all Black Americans.”

“President Trump made the Black community a priority in his 4 years in office while Joe Biden spent 47 years creating and supporting policies that destroyed Black families, communities and generational wealth,” the statement said.

Trump won 8% of the Black vote in 2016 and it’s not clear if he is succeeding with his campaign to win over Black voters. Recent polls showed a large majority of Black voters support Trump’s rival, Joe Biden. What is more, many Black voters believe Trump is racist.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 27, 2020


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