WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — After President Donald Trump attacked his challenger Joe Biden over affordable housing, Democrats have slammed his statements as racist.
“They’re going to, in my opinion, destroy suburbia,” Trump said of Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, accusing them of wanting to invade the suburbs with low-income housing. “They want to change zonings so that you have lots of problems.”
Democrats said they have seen the tactic before, saying it echoes racist rhetoric used to encourage segregation.
“It’s a very thinly veiled racial kind of a suggestion,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said. “I don’t think you need a Ph.D. to realize that he’s trying further to divide the country.”
“To create racial divisions, fear, hatred; we’re so much better than that,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said.
Last month, the Trump administration scrapped an Obama-era affordable housing rule designed to prevent discrimination. The White House says communities need flexibility, not regulation.
Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, said that with millions of Americans at risk of eviction due to the toll coronavirus pandemic has taken on the economy, the country needs more, not less, affordable housing.
“We need more support coming out of the administration,” she said.
Trump said the decision was about safety, not race.
“Thirty percent-plus of people living in suburbia are minorities,” Trump said. “Suburban women, suburban men, I think they feel very strongly about what I’m doing.”
But Democrats not the president’s tactics could backfire in November.
“When the president talks about this, he’s talking about senior citizens who are on Social Security,” Stabenow said, pointing to a key voting demographic.