On Wednesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to celebrate his administration repealing the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule (AFFH), a regulation that was added during President Obama’s time in office.
What We Know:
- The AFFH rule, ended July 23rd, was intended to further protect citizens against housing discrimination. The regulation required those who receive federal funding to monitor—and propose plans to limit—housing discrimination that takes place within their jurisdictions.
…Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
- Scholars and politicians alike noted the undertone of racial bias in President Trump’s message. Some believe he is tying low-income housing to race for a reason. Roy P. Crocker Professor of Politics at Claremont McKenna College, Dr. John J. Pitney told USA Today, “He is equating the two in order to appeal to racial prejudice.” Dr. Pitney believes Trump’s message is also meant to distract voters from the impacts of Covid-19. “No wonder. Trump wants people to think about crime and race instead of the pandemic death toll.”
- Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York’s 13th Congressional district, spoke in plain terms about the President’s comments.
This is racism. https://t.co/cetyHRY6of
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) July 29, 2020
- President Trump is facing accusations of dog whistling, a political tactic defined by Merriam Webster as “an expression or statement that has a secondary meaning intended to be understood only by a particular group of people”.
- Some have called this rhetoric something else. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut stated on Twitter, “Oh my. I mean, it’s not even a dog whistle anymore. Our President is now a proud, vocal segregationist.”
- In the past, President Trump has been on the receiving end of backlash—and lawsuits—over fair housing practices. The United States Justice Department opened a civil rights case against Trump’s company in 1973. President Trump and his father were then accused of violating the Civil Rights Act by refusing to rent to Black tenants. The case was settled in 1975, after Trump and his father agreed they would no longer discriminate against renters of color.
The connection between Trump’s tweets and low poll numbers in the suburbs is apparent. On Thursday, President Trump doubled down on his comments by aiming more pointedly at “The Suburban Housewives of America,” arguing, “Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream. I will preserve it, and make it even better!”