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Local democrats chime in on Trump’s appeal to black voters

Rep. Joyce Beatty, a Democrat from Ohio's 3rd District, calls out Donald Trump at a press conference at the Hillary Clinton campaign's Columbus office on Aug. 29. Credit: Abby Vesoulis | Lantern Reporter

Rep. Joyce Beatty, a Democrat from Ohio’s 3rd District, calls out Donald Trump at a press conference at the Hillary Clinton campaign’s Columbus office on Aug. 29. Credit: Abby Vesoulis | Lantern Reporter

Rep. Joyce Beatty, of Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District — which represents most of Ohio State’s campus and a large swath of the off-campus area — took to a news conference Monday to challenge Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent appeal to African American voters.

Beatty and Columbus City Council members Jaiza Page and Shannon Hardin, all Democrats, addressed the race between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. They condemned Trump’s intentions for minority voters by addressing discriminatory housing allegations made during his time as president of Trump Management — which some on-campus Trump supporters disputed Trump’s connection with.

“Hillary Clinton has spent her lifetime helping people, while Donald Trump has spent a lifetime padding his wallet at the expense of hardworking Americans and minorities,” Beatty said. “America needs a commander-in-chief, not a divider-in-chief. And that’s why I am supporting Hillary Clinton for president of these United States — not divided states.”

In a New York Times article published over the weekend, titled “‘No vacancies’ for blacks: How Donald Trump got his start, and was first accused of bias,” reporters Jonathan Mahler and Steve Eder wrote that a strong applicant for an apartment owned by Trump’s company was turned down because of her race.

Further, the article addressed the 1973 federal investigation of Trump Management regarding racial discrimination. Though he won the resulting lawsuit from the Justice Department, the New York Times’ investigation documented instances of housing discrimination by Trump Management in New York, and also in Cincinnati.

Page highlighted the Times’ coverage of a young black couple in Cincinnati who was repeatedly rejected by the Trump company’s rental agent, who said there were no vacancies. When white applicants went to inquire about the same vacancies, they were offered an apartment.

“(Trump) often touts his time in Cincinnati during his speeches in the state, but what he has failed to acknowledge and explain is the company’s practice of not renting apartments to people of color,” Page said.

Trump claims, however, that he is the best option for black Americans. In a recent speech in Dimondale, Michigan, Trump urged for black voters who had voted Democrat in the past to try something new, like himself.

While commenting on issues minorities face, such as poor schools and high youth-unemployment rates, Trump asked, “What do you have to lose?

But his plea was not enough for some to feel comfortable with his alleged history of discrimination.

“The whole rationale for his candidacy is that he is a businessman and he is going to fix this country. But, in reality, what we have to look at is the totality of his record as a businessman,” Jake Vasilj, a third-year in political science and history, and president of College Democrats, said. “We can’t just take little snippets. We have to look at the whole thing. And Donald Trump, as late as the mid-1970s, has accusations of housing discrimination. That is something we have to consider.”

Dominic Bagnoli, a third-year in biology and treasurer for OSU’s chapter of Students for Trump, blamed the discrimination on policies put in place by Trump’s father, and a lack of “micromanaging” by Trump.

“Do I believe Trump had a personal say in these sort of things? No,” Bagnoli said.

The New York Times article stated, “There was no evidence Trump personally set the rental policies at his father’s properties.” The article added that he was president of the company — his father being chairman — at the time it was sued in 1973.

Bagnoli said Trump Management was not the only company discriminating at the time, and said he believes Trump cares about minorities.

“He cares about the city, right? He’s from New York City. He cares about inner-city youth, he cares about inner-city schools,” Bagnoli said. “And I think if he pushes his policy harder with reforming education, along with inner-city schools … I think that would definitely help him with minorities.”

Near the conclusion of yesterday’s press conference, Congresswoman Beatty came back to the podium to reiterate her reasons for speaking out against Trump.

“This, for me, is first-hand. I lived through a lot of what you are hearing today,” said Beatty. “Can you just imagine that you complete your application and you turn it in for good faith and then someone puts the ‘C’ by it, to identify you as color, so your application could be denied?”  

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