Jared Kushner says Black Americans must 'want' to succeed

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Sudan in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Sudan in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House senior adviser Jared Kushner criticized athletes and others who have protested against U.S. racism on social media and basketball courts and suggested that Black people had to want to succeed for policies to change.

In televised remarks that drew criticism from the Democratic Party, Kushner, the Republican president's son-in-law, spoke about Trump's "Platinum Plan to create jobs and opportunities for Black Americans if he is re-elected next month.

"So look, there's been a lot of discussion about the issues that were needed in the Black community for the last years but particularly, it intensified after the George Floyd situation," he told Fox & Friends.

A Black man, Floyd was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in May, sparking widespread protests over racial inequality and police brutality organized by Black Lives Matter and other groups.

"And, you know, you saw a lot of people who were just virtue signaling. They'd go on Instagram and cry or they would put a slogan on their jersey or write something on a basketball court. And quite frankly, that was doing more to polarize the country than it was to bring people forward."

Trump's plan would achieve more, Kushner said, acknowledging that the Black community overwhelmingly supports the rival Democratic Party.

"President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about but he can’t help them be successful more than they want to be successful," Kushner said.

"President Trump may not always say the right things but he does the right things," he said.

The Democratic National Committee issued a statement assailing Kushner for suggesting that demanding accountability for the deaths of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement was just "complaining."

"This dismissive approach to the issues that Black voters care about is indicative of Trump’s callousness and disregard for the lives of Black people," said the statement issued by DNC national press secretary Brandon Gassaway.

After Floyd's death, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that a growing majority of Americans understood "why Black Americans do not trust the police," companies pledged billions of dollars to address inequalities in the United States, and some professional athletic events were canceled.

Trump faces Democrat Joe Biden in a Nov. 3 election.

(Reporting by Heather Timmons; Editing by Howard Goller)