Black Lives Matter to President Trump

Black Lives Matter to President Trump
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Black Lives Matter to President Trump
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Story Stream
recent articles

I understand the desire to let your voice be heard by protesting something you find unjust. I’ve done it. Years before my home state recognized Martin Luther King Day as a holiday, we would peacefully march in January because to me and my family it was important to observe that holiday.  

Throughout history there have been times when images of the black experience have pricked the consciousness of all Americans. In 1955, it was the open casket of 14-year-old Emmett Till. In 1965, it was the peaceful protesters on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., brutalized by Bull Connor-style officers on national TV. In 2014, it was Eric Garner pleading for his life in New York saying, “I can’t breathe,” and tragically in 2020 it was George Floyd’s cry before his cruel and unjustifiable death at the knee of a rogue police officer.   

The public response to each of these incidents and many others varied, but none seem to have sparked what we see today. Peaceful protests of good people who rightfully want justice and change turned into organized chaos of violence, looting, rioting, property destruction and even deaths. Reports now show many of these agitators are members of organized militant leftists’ groups like Antifa that have no interest in peace, change or justice.  

On May 31 and June 1, 1921, black lives, wealth and an entire community was literally lost in Tulsa, Okla., at the hands of a violent racist mob and no one was held responsible. The economically prosperous community of black residents was known as “Black Wall Street.” Ninety-nine years later, history has repeated itself with the looting, rioting, violence and destruction of small businesses -- representing jobs, livelihoods and dreams -- and, even more importantly, more lives lost.  

These historical tragedies need to stop repeating themselves. The time is now for change, justice and action.  

Black Americans have endured the painful sting of racism, discrimination and excessive force from rogue police officers for too long. The cries of the people are deeper than any isolated incident. I have experienced racism, excessive force from a county sheriff, discrimination, and personal attacks because of the color of my skin and even my political affiliation.  

I have dedicated my political life to being an advocate for my community from within the Republican Party to ensure that our political and socio-economic issues are always on the table.  

It is time for action and President Trump is a man of action. His decisive leadership and inclusive agenda have shown that he is interested in putting America First, and that includes black America. 

Real political leadership in the black community is long overdue. For decades we have been let down by liberal Democrat leaders and their policies. For too long our communities have suffered from high crime, low wages, poor schools, health disparities, lack of opportunity and access to capital. 

President Trump is right to call for peace, he is right to call for the end of looting, rioting, violence and destruction of property. That only sets us back, hurts the community even more and distracts us away from the real issues at hand. It is self-defeating and socially destructive. I have no doubt President Trump will once again rise to the occasion and lead, by action, to help heal the nation and be a champion for the voices of the unheard. 

He has called on local leaders to stop the destruction of our communities and offered federal assistance, if needed. President Trump swiftly deployed the FBI and Department of Justice to help ensure that justice is carried out and those involved will be held accountable.  But more can and will be done.  

I’m optimistic that President Trump will use his authority to protect all Americans, create the change we need and provide common sense solutions. This is the man that led the charge for de-segregating Palm Beach, Fla., for Jews and black Americans. He supported Sen. Tim Scott’s anti-lynching legislation in the U.S. Senate and worked with him to create Opportunity Zones, saying, “We must all work together as a society to expand opportunity and to create a future of greater dignity and promise for all of our people.  We must forge a partnership with community leaders, local law enforcement, and the faith community to restore hope.” 

Donald Trump worked with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Push Wall Street Project that sought to bridge the gap between minorities and Wall Street. Rev. Jackson said of Trump, “In terms of reaching out and being inclusive, he did that too. … He’s a serious person who is an effective builder -- being able to build up people.”  

This is the same man that made the impossible happen getting criminal justice reform by signing the First Step Act into law. President Trump has always been about law and order, as well as jobs and justice. His inclusionary leadership style and desire to win for the people means he is the leader that can finally lead to the change and action so many in my community have been pleading for. He said, “I understand the pain that people are feeling.  We support the right of peaceful protesters, and we hear their pleas.”   

White House domestic policy is now led by a criminal justice reform warrior, Brooke Rollins. She has worked with Jared Kushner and Ja’Ron K. Smith, the highest ranking black American in the White House, to ensure that African American leaders and outside groups always have access to get things done.  

The route to justice is long, but with President Trump, the train is moving fast.  Minneapolis police officers have been fired in the George Floyd case; Derek Chauvin has been charged. President Trump has vowed to label Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization, and there has been an expedited federal civil rights investigation opened at the president’s direction.  

In 2018, President Trump created the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council and in 2019, he issued an executive order to establish the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, both are now more relevant than ever. The Trump administration has the capacity and the will to bring the nation together and create the change we need.  

Liberal Democrat leaders have spent years trying to convince black Americans that they have been representing us, instead of actually doing the work to uplift our communities. This November, go vote, but before you do, pay attention to who is fighting for our community, and who is just paying us lip-service. Because of President Trump and his conservative leadership, I hope the country can agree that black lives do matter because they are American lives. We are all Americans, who have the same constitutional rights to life, liberty and justice. 

Paris Dennard is a GOP political commentator, strategist, and senior communications adviser for Black Media Affairs at the Republican National Committee. Follow him on Twitter at @PARISDENNARD.

Show comments Hide Comments