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Trump grasps for a strategy to help hard-hit communities

Almost a month ago, when the coronavirus demanded an inordinate number of vulnerable groups across America, President Donald Trump turned to a White House council under the radar to quickly determine how the government federal government “can better support minority and distressed communities”.

He hardly got out of it. The White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, reassigned by Trump on April 22 to deal with the disproportionate damage of the pandemic to communities of color, is still developing proposals to reduce the disparities in racial health that have were amplified by the coronavirus epidemic, according to four people familiar with Planning.


Almost three months after the pandemic started, administration officials are still trying to formulate a comprehensive plan to help minority communities – particularly African-Americans and Latinos – disproportionately affected by the virus. Growing concerns over inaccessible tests and high hospitalization rates highlight a gaping hole in the response to Trump’s pandemic – concerns that also threaten to ricochet through the President’s 2020 re-election operation six months later on election day.

Trump campaign officials, who spent months investing in educating black and Latino voters before November, are now faced with the difficult task of wooing communities that have been ravaged by the virus and are frustrated by what they perceive it as a lackluster response from the administration.

A senior government official familiar with the board, led by Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson, said the group is still evaluating political proposals from federal agencies and will present a plan to Trump “in the near future “. The council met with Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Architect of the Federal Opportunity Program, and two assistants to Trump’s chief counselor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The delay in tackling disproportionate death and infection rates and financial pressure in minority communities – among the most serious of the coronavirus crisis – underscores the challenge facing government officials as they are grappling with a serious public health crisis.

“Secretary Carson was supposed to take an initiative to resolve this problem, but I haven’t heard anything since then. It’s hard to criticize their strategy by excluding racial disparity issues when there doesn’t seem to be a strategy at all, “said representative Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Who participated in a phone call with the vice -President Mike Pence and Last month, House Democrats repeatedly raised concerns about underserved populations.


Pence also discussed the matter with Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, whose city has seen African-American residents succumb to the virus at nearly six times the rate of white residents, according to public data analyzed by the Chicago Tribune. The implication of the vice-president, although welcomed by the heads of state who praised his responsiveness, baffled some administration officials who said it was not clear who was directing the administration’s response racial and ethnic minorities who showed particular vulnerability to the new coronavirus.

Carson, Scott and two of Kushner’s allies in the US White House Bureau of Innovation have all claimed their involvement and organized separate phone calls and virtual meetings on the subject. The senior administration official said that Carson “leads the discussions and we are certainly working with Senator Scott and have collaborative conversations with the White House”.

“Much of this will use the CARES law, as well as make proposals to strengthen public health and allow the business sectors of these communities to recover better,” added the official, citing the response bill from $ 2 trillion on congressional coronaviruses. last month.

Administration officials, including Carson, had several discussions with urban community organizations, as well as local and state officials. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters this week that the administration had previously set aside $ 2 billion for hospitals in underserved communities out of a $ 12 billion aid pool .

The dearth of information about the federal government’s plans to correct failures that have exacerbated the pandemic’s impact on communities of color has not stopped the president — or his campaign — from using the topic to forge ahead in their pursuit of black and Latino supporters.

On Tuesday, the Trump campaign said in an email blast that the president is “prioritizing underserved communities” and overseeing “the greatest mobilization [of the federal government] since World War II.” The campaign has also included “Black voices for Trump” gatherings with senior Trump campaign adviser Katrina Pierson in its weekly programming since the pandemic forced most 2020 campaign events into the virtual sphere.

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