Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, faced backlash this week after suggesting Black people had to want to be successful in order to understand how the president was helping them.
“I think we've seen in a lot of the Black community, which is mostly Democrat, is that President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about. But he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful,” Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, said on Fox & Friends on Monday.
Kushner, 39, went on to tout what he said was rising Black support for Trump from those voters who "are seeing that he's actually delivered."
He then criticized demonstrators across the country who spoke out about injustice and police misconduct following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis this summer.
“You saw a lot of people who were just virtue signaling — they go on Instagram and cry or they would, you know, put a slogan on their jersey or write something on a basketball court,” Kushner said. “Quite frankly, that was doing more to polarize the country than it was to bring people forward. You solve problems with solutions.”
Kushner's comments drew quick reaction. Critics said the interview epitomized an administration run by a president who regularly says racist things even as he boasts of helping minority communities.
(The White House often dismisses attacks that Trump is a racist, with Trump describing himself as one of the best presidents ever for people who are Black and one of the "least racist" people in any given situation.)
Rep. Don Beyer, from Virginia, said on Twitter that Kushner’s remarks equated to “casual racism."
Other Democratic lawmakers also quickly called out the president’s son-in-law for perpetuating racist stereotypes.
“It’s white privilege, it’s ignorance, but it’s to be expected coming from this White House," Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, a major supporter of Trump's rival Joe Biden, told CNN.
“Jared Kushner is the face of white privilege and nepotism,” Rep. Barbara Lee, from California, tweeted. “He doesn't want to change our racist, broken system because he benefits from it. He’s the last person that should be lecturing the Black community on the value of ‘hard work.’ "
Rep. Gwen Moore also denounced Kushner’s apparent racial stereotyping, jabbing at him for his moneyed background and the family ties that brought him to the Oval Office.
“Trust fund baby slumlord Kushner who has enriched himself in the [White House] takes the silver spoon out of his mouth long enough to insert his foot with a racist trope about Black people and success," the Wisconsin lawmaker tweeted.
The White House defended Kushner’s remarks.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that it was "disgusting to see internet trolls” misinterpreting his comments.
Ja’Ron Smith, a deputy assistant to Trump who works with Kushner, also jumped to his defense. Smith, who is Black, tweeted a photo of himself with the president’s son-in-law and called him “a man who has been a huge advocate for the issues that impact Black America.”
The Democratic National Committee responded to Kushner’s comment with its own statement, calling his approach to Black issues “divisive” and “indicative of Trump’s callousness and disregard for the lives of Black people.”
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