Rob Smith: Trump is delivering for African-Americans. Dems need to work with him to benefit Baltimore

While I’m a strong supporter of President Trump, I have to admit that I was taken aback by the toughness of his tweets in the past few days pointing out problems plaguing Baltimore and criticizing Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings for not doing more to solve them.

Many people have taken the president’s tweets and subsequent comments as an insult to the citizens of Baltimore – a city with a population that is 63 percent black.

I can understand that perception, but I don’t believe that was the president’s point.


Instead, I believe Trump was trying to draw attention – and certainly succeeded in doing so – to unacceptable conditions in Baltimore and saying that Cummings and other Democratic elected officials have not done enough to improve those conditions.

It’s a fact that Baltimore has more than its fair share of problems.

Baltimore has a poverty rate more than double the Maryland state average. Its public schools consistently rank among the lowest in the state. It is a city with an unemployment rate a full percentage higher than the state average. And there is rundown housing in the city where rats and other vermin have taken up residence.


The citizens of Baltimore are, without question, not responsible for these unfortunate conditions. It’s not racist to say the officials they elected are responsible for not doing more to make the city a better place to live.

The anti-Trump media have attached the word “racist” to Trump’s name not as an allegation, but as a fact. But I don’t believe for a minute that the president is a racist

The truth is that Trump has thrown harsh criticism at people of every race, ethnicity, gender and every other category you can think of. And that criticism has in many cases had a positive effect – drawing attention to problems and prompting action.

As a part of my work with Turning Point USA, I attended a White House event last year when the president addressed a group of 400 young black conservatives, some of whom had never been on an airplane or to Washington before.

The president told us: “For decades, policies advanced by Democrats have … eliminated opportunity and wiped out good-paying jobs and even great paying jobs for the black community.” These are not the words of a racist – they are the words of someone who wants to improve the lives of black Americans.

But we have more than words. Look at what Trump has accomplished.


The president has eliminated unnecessary regulations, cut taxes and committed himself to renegotiating trade deals. All these actions have sparked a manufacturing renaissance, job creation and a booming economy that has benefitted Americans of every race.

Black unemployment is at a historic low. In Detroit, for example, the unemployment rate is so low that employers are taking a softer stance towards hiring ex-convicts than they had in the past.

And black entrepreneurs now have a better shot at starting small businesses of their own that have the potential to grow and create new jobs.

In addition, 90 percent of the more than 2,000 prisoners just released under the First Step Act signed by the president are African-American.

If congressional Democrats would stop devoting all their time and energy to investigating every aspect of Trump’s life and talking about impeaching him, they could reach out to the president and Republican lawmakers and do a lot more to benefit Baltimore and cities like it.

Trump may actually have done Baltimore and its black and brown residents a favor by highlighting bad conditions in the city.

By calling attention to high poverty, crime, rundown housing, rats and other problems afflicting Baltimore – as well as other U.S. cities with large black and brown populations – the president focused global attention on problems that have been around since before he was born.

You can’t deny these problems exist. Democrats and the media have pointed them out for decades. And black people have long complained about these problems as well. We want to see these problems solved – not swept under the rug.

By acknowledging these problems – in admittedly strong language – the president may spark change. The positive effect of the Trump Twitter attacks could be a bipartisan effort to improve the lives of minority populations and improve living conditions in our cities in the years ahead.

If congressional Democrats would stop devoting all their time and energy to investigating every aspect of Trump’s life and talking about impeaching him, they could reach out to the president and Republican lawmakers and do a lot more to benefit Baltimore and cities like it.

I grew up in Akron, Ohio in a working-class black family in an environment similar to Baltimore’s. I know from my own experience what it’s like to live in an inner-city that has seen better days, and to attend rundown and substandard public schools.

I know what it is like to desperately want a better life like the one I saw on TV shows about middle-class and wealthy families, where folks lived in beautiful homes I could only dream about.

And I know what it’s like to but to be consistently let down by elected officials – usually Democrats – who promise they will make things better for poor folks, but never deliver all they promise.

The skin color of black elected officials like Rep. Cummings shouldn’t shield them from criticism for failing to do enough for their constituents of all races. All critiques are not rooted in racism.

Accusing President Trump of racism won’t change anything. What will turn things around is for Baltimore’s elected officials to be held to a high standard of accountability.

Baltimore is only the latest example of how Democratic elected officials and lawmakers have failed majority-black cities. To distract from their abysmal record of failure, Democrats whip up racial hysteria when called out on this. The latest example of this cycle is happening right now.

Watch these videos on Twitter from Baltimore County Republican Central Committee member Kimberly Klacik and you’ll see a black Baltimore resident named Michelle complaining about Cummings and defending Trump.

“Trump is not racist … I’m glad he put (Cummings) on blast,” Michelle said. “The rats just didn’t come. These houses just didn’t get torn down, they’ve been like this.”

Michelle is not a racist who hates black people, nor am I. As black Americans, we want and expect elected officials to take action to improve our cities and improve the lives of all the people there.


Too many elected Democrats expect the vast majority of black voters will always support them, so the Democrats are not under pressure to deliver on campaign promises.

President Trump is delivering for African Americans. We’d be wise to not overreact to his inflammatory tweets and instead react to what he is doing, and urge Democrats to work with him to accomplish more to benefit Baltimore and other cities like it.