Donald Trump’s Dark View of Cities is Wrong

Donald Trump is wrong on the facts, wrong on policy, and wrong for America’s cities. Throughout his campaign, he has attacked many different groups of Americans, including Latinos, immigrants, Muslims, women, the disabled and even parents who lost their son in Iraq. Most recently, he has directed his hateful rhetoric toward cities and Democratic mayors whose policies Trump says “have produced only poverty, joblessness, failing schools, and broken homes.” During the first debate, he said minorities in inner cities were “living in hell.” At tonight’s town hall debate he continued to say cities were “terrible.”

Mr. Trump has traveled to Detroit, Flint and Philadelphia to visit churches and do photo ops with a backdrop of African American voters. Unfortunately, at these staged events, Trump did not offer any policies, specific ideas or solutions that will support our cities. Instead of policy proposals, he only offers a confused, racist vision of America. His comments show how disconnected he is with reality. The truth is that America’s cities are not the dark, scary places he describes.
American cities are instead places of light. They are incredibly diverse and dynamic centers of American life — home to nearly 2 out of every 3 Americans, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, innovative entrepreneurs, professional sports teams, cultural institutions, and the world’s best colleges and universities. Every day, people of every color, faith and origin wake up in an American city and go to work or school, attend a place of worship, volunteer with a nonprofit organization, and take care of their families and loved ones. Our cities are a source of American pride.

Further, American cities are where innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth occurs. Over 96% of all jobs are created in cities. In fact, many American city metro area economies are among the world’s largest. A candidate for President cannot make America prosperous if he doesn’t understand that America’s cities are, in fact, the backbone of the national economy. A candidate for President cannot make America great if he doesn’t understand what cities mean to America’s future. As the data shows, as go America’s cities, so goes the nation.

We need a leader who understands how it all plays out on the streets of our communities. We need a leader who understands that to be strong abroad, we need to be strong at home. And ultimately, we need a leader who understands that America’s greatest strength has always been our diversity.

There is a consensus from Mayors of cities small and large, democrats and republicans that the next president’s immediate priorities should be investing in public safety and homeland security and infrastructure so our nation can be strong both at home and abroad. Our cities and local law enforcement are at the tip of the spear in this nation’s responsibility to provide security, justice, and opportunity for all, yet we do not have the tools needed to deliver them. For a secure America, we need to keep our cities strong and safe. The stronger our infrastructure is — our water and sewer systems, flood protection systems, highways, bridges, roads, ports, airports– the more secure we will be. These investments will also bolster our economies and create jobs.

Unfortunately, Mr. Trump offers only platitudes and more divisive rhetoric, big promises without real solutions. Hillary Clinton on the other hand has offered detailed solutions for delivering jobs and prosperity for our cities — investing in infrastructure and advanced manufacturing, reforming the criminal justice system, and providing support and training for law enforcement to secure America.

We need a President who will stand up for cities, not deride them. We need a President who can work with Congress to come together and who will help Mayors make cities even stronger and safer than they are now. It is clear Mr. Trump is not serious about learning what the country’s 1400 Mayors deal with every day. It suits his politics better to parachute in to places like Detroit and Philadelphia for photo-ops, while mostly giving red-meat speeches in front of white crowds outside of the American cities he is talking about. Unless and until he outlines how he will help our cities make our country stronger and more secure, he will continue to be wrong for America’s cities and therefore wrong for America.