Trump: Policy shift will keep low-income housing out of suburbs

“Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!” he continued, referring to the Obama-era policy.

The 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule requires local governments to proactively ensure fair housing in order to receive federal housing funding. It was designed to give more teeth to the Fair Housing Act in combating segregation and was praised by civil rights groups at the time.

But conservative critics and the Trump administration decried the parameters as unnecessarily laborious. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced last week a replacement policy that essentially leaves localities to self-certify that housing is affordable and free of discrimination — a significant scale-down of the Obama-era rule.

“After reviewing thousands of comments on the proposed changes to the [AFFH] regulation, we found it to be unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from communities that need them most,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said last week.

The division between urban and suburban America is closely tied to the country‘s history of segregation. Even long after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, numerous studies and reports have revealed policies that have kept Black people out of white suburbs and other forms of housing discrimination. The connection between Trump‘s aspersion on low-income housing in suburbs and racial segregation was not lost on his critics.

“Oh my. I mean, it’s not even a dog whistle anymore,“ Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote on Twitter. “Our President is now a proud, vocal segregationist.“

Former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, who served as HUD secretary under Obama when the 2015 AFFH rule was created, also shot back at Trump, tweeting: “Just because people are poor doesn’t mean they’re bad. That’s obvious to most, but not to bigots like“ Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Trump‘s tweets “disgusting,” saying the president is “actively working to gut fair housing laws and legalize housing discrimination.“

“EVERY American deserves access to the American dream. We will fight this,” Schumer wrote on Twitter.

Adrianne Todman, CEO of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, said in a statement to POLITICO on Wednesday that Trump‘s remarks were a deep insult to those who live in, work in and build low-income housing. She stressed that those who live in low-income housing offer valuable contributions to all communities.

“If you are a person of modest means, know that your value is not derived by how much money you make, but by who you are,“ Todman said.

Trump has been giving more of his attention to the suburbs ahead of the November presidential election, portraying rival Democratic candidate Joe Biden as hostile to suburbanites. He accused Biden and other Democrats of trying to “abolish” suburbs and tweeted Thursday at “The Suburban Housewives of America” that “Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream. I will preserve it, and make it even better!”

Still, Trump’s call out toward suburbanites doesn’t appear to be driving up his appeal. Polls have Trump trailing behind Biden in the suburbs by large margins, and suburban areas largely carried Democrats to a majority in the House in 2018.