During a meeting Wednesday with President Donald Trump, African-American clergy praised the president’s efforts on prison reform and rehabilitation. The White House roundtable was focused on efforts to reform the prison system, and the meeting included pastors and bishops from across the country, the Associated Press reports.
“This is going to be the most pro-black president that we’ve had in our lifetimes,” Reverend Darnell Scott of Ohio predicted.
Scott had previously campaigned for Trump and spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Scott specifically focused on Trump’s efforts to reform the prison system and to help ex-convicts re-enter society and find work. To that end, Trump enlisted his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner pushed for Congress to pass the First Step Act, which would help prisoner rehabilitation. So far, the House of Representatives has passed the bill.
Trump’s performance among African-American voters in 2016 was a key to his surprising victory. While Trump barely outperformed 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney among blacks, winning 8% to Romney’s 6%, Trump did far better in African-American-heavy counties in swing states than Romney did.
For example, in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Trump narrowed the gap between the parties by almost 60,000 votes; he won the state by about 23,000 votes.
Similarly, while both Trump and Romney lost Michigan’s Wayne County (home of Detroit) by large margins, Trump’s loss was about 90,000 votes less than Romney’s loss. This performance helped Trump carry Michigan by about 10,000 votes, whereas Romney lost the state of his childhood home by almost 450,000 votes.
Prison rehabilitation is an important and bi-partisan issue. If Trump continues to improve his standing among African-Americans, he could put the 2020 presidential election out of reach for the Democrats.