Ja’Ron Smith, the highest ranking Black White House aide, said that in a moment of “national racial consciousness,” he has seen the “true conscience” of President Trump.
In his GOP convention speech Thursday night, Smith told of how he grew up in Cleveland, and witnessed the crack-cocaine epidemic “up close and personal” in the 1980s, when his mother worked at a gas station and his father shoveled snow and paved streets. Smith later attended Howard University.
He said that growing up he never really knew a Republican.
“I believed all the stereotypes,” the White House aide continued. “It took meeting Republicans who shared my values to show me I was wrong.”
“And, in the wake of the murder of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and LeGend Taliferro—a moment of national racial consciousness—I have seen his true conscience,” Smith continued. “I just wish every American could see the deep empathy he showed to families whose loved ones were killed in senseless violence.”
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Smith said that every issue that has been important to Black communities has been “a priority” for Trump — prison reform, bringing jobs back to America, funding for historically Black colleges and universities and working for school choice.
“President Trump has made it clear that if you want to have a safe community, you must have a police department and that department must have the highest standards,” Smith said. “After decades of a broken system, broken schools, and broken communities, folks don’t want any more broken promises.”
The aide concluded: “For a New Yorker, he’s got a lot of Cleveland heart.”
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Smith has worked on criminal justice issues within the White House and helped author an executive order on policing. He’s worked with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and architect of a number of his policies, and Trump has taken to calling him “my star” in meetings, according to a New York Times report.