Sep 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump unveils plan to expand loans for Black business owners, Juneteenth pledge

President Trump unveiled what he calls the "Black Economic Empowerment — Platinum Plan," at a campaign event in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, promising to secure more lending for Black-owned businesses if elected for a second term.

Why it matters: With national polls showing the president lagging behind Joe Biden with Black voters, Trump's plan also includes a proposal to make Juneteenth — the commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. — a federal holiday.

By the numbers: The Trump campaign said in a release that federal investments could generate $500 billion in additional capital, generate 3 million new jobs for Black Americans and 500,000 new Black-owned businesses.

  • The other side: Biden has pledged to leverage $150 billion in new capital for Black-owned businesses and increase funding for historically Black colleges and universities. Sen. Kamala Harris along with fellow Senate Democrats introduced legislation earlier this year to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

What they're saying: "I will always put American first and that includes, very, very importantly, Black Americans," Trump said Friday.

  • He added that Black Americans have historically voted for Democrats and suggested their economic prospects are better with him in office. "[E]very day more Black Americans are deciding that the old way is not working,” Trump said.
  • He also promised to work on criminal justice reform and build “a new national clemency project” to review unjust prosecutions and lengthy prison sentences.

Biden issued a statement, saying:

“Four years ago, President Trump ran on a platform to make America great again. Yet under President Trump’s failed leadership, nearly 6,800 Georgians have died from the coronavirus,” nearly half of whom are Black, Biden said.

  • “And, in the midst of this global health pandemic and economic crisis, President Trump is still working to tear down the Affordable Care Act and take away protections for Georgians with preexisting conditions."

What he's not saying: The president did not specify how he would fund the proposal.

The big picture: Recent polling shows 83% of likely Black voters favor Biden, and 10% back Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight. 8% of likely Black voters said they didn’t know which candidate they will back.

Go deeper