Yesterday, President Trump tweeted:
Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected. In particular, African Americans will not be able to vote for you. I, on the other hand, was responsible for Criminal Justice Reform, which had tremendous support, & helped fix the bad 1994 Bill!
By “anyone,” Trump means Joe Biden. In fact, he also tweeted:
Super Predator was the term associated with the 1994 Crime Bill that Sleepy Joe Biden was so heavily involved in passing. That was a dark period in American History, but has Sleepy Joe apologized? No!
These are deeply cynical tweets. They remind me a little bit of Trump’s false claim that he opposed President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq.
The latest tweets aren’t quite that bad. I don’t know that Trump ever went on record supporting the 1994 Crime Bill. I’m pretty sure, however, that he never went on record against it.
And it’s difficult to believe that the man who, as president, thought the death penalty was appropriate punishment for some drug dealers was opposed, in 1994, to the tough measures of a crime bill that was needed to help stem the tide of drug-related criminality. How sad that Trump seeks to score political points by attacking what Daniel Horowitz correctly describes as “one of the few bipartisan successes of our lifetime, which led to a huge decline in the homicide rate.”
What Trump’s tweets show, I think, is that Trump didn’t support the leniency legislation he signed last year because he believes in “redemption” or “evidence-based rehabilitation programs” or any nonsense like that. He’s too intelligent and too grounded in reality.
Trump supported leniency legislation because he wants black votes. If that means more crime — and given recidivism rates, it inevitably means that — so be it.
Daniel Horowitz objects to Trump’s “lurch to the left” on crime He cites Trump tweets from 2013 in which he said that “the primary victims of violent crimes are in the African American and Hispanic communities.” Trump added, “These people want LAW AND ORDER now!”
Trump must now think that African Americans prioritize less incarceration of Blacks over keeping criminals off the street. He may well be right, at least until the violent crime rate skyrockets.
But that’s not a good excuse for supporting bad policies that pander to this preference.