Senator Cory Booker accused President Donald Trump of racism on Wednesday for his claim suburban women would vote for him because he ended a low income housing program and trolled the president with a jab at his spelling error.
Trump claimed in an early morning tweet ‘suburban housewives’ would vote for him because they didn’t want low income housing in their area and warned them rival Joe Biden would put Booker in charge of such programs.
He misspelled the senator’s name, adding an ‘e’ so it read ‘Corey.’
Booker tweeted back at him: ‘Donaled, your racism is showing. -Cory.’
Trump’s new attack line came the day after Biden named Kamala Harris as his female running mate.
‘The “suburban housewife” will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge!,’ the president wrote on Twitter.
Republicans have focused their efforts on courting suburban women in recent elections, dubbing them everything from ‘soccer moms’ to ‘security moms’ to ‘Walmart moms’ – although in 2018 the party saw such voters shift to Democrats.
Trump has appealed to the voting bloc through alleged fearmongering and racist language, using the housing issue to make his point.
Trump rowed back on an Obama-administration rule called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing intended to combat racial segregation in suburban housing last month, and claims that his decision will keep ‘low income housing’ out of such areas. Biden’s campaign says he would reinstate the rule.
Trump’s language has been interpreted as implying he would keep minorities out of the suburbs – while his use of ‘suburban housewife’ is seen as reference to white women. Booker is one of only two Democratic black senators and has no known role in future Biden plans.
The last time Trump tweeted in similar terms, Elizabeth Warren called it ‘disgusting racism.’
On Wednesday the Biden campaign accused Trump of ‘melting down’ in the wake of Kamala Harris’ addition to the Democratic ticket.
‘Donald Trump’s presidency is melting down after his failed, divisive, erratic leadership has cost over 160,000 American lives, tens of millions of jobs, and left the United States the hardest-hit country in the world by COVID-19,’ campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.
‘He’s only further discrediting himself – and proving that he’s dumbfounded after Joe Biden’s selection of a strong running mate who he himself said not two weeks ago would be a ‘fine choice,” he added.
His latest tweet on Wednesday comes the day after Biden chose Kamala Harris to be his running mate. She is the first black woman to be named as a vice presidential candidate – a choice that will appeal to both black voters and women voters.
The president also name checks Cory Booker in his tweet, the black senator from New Jersey who is the former mayor of Newark. Booker doubled an affordable housing program in that city as mayor but it’s unclear why Trump charged Biden would put Booker in charge of the issue.
Booker made affordable housing a major part of his presidential platform when he was running for the Democratic nomination and Biden has expressed his support for his plan.
The suburbs have become a key swing area in politics – deciding House race, Senate contests and presidential elections. They have undergone major growth in the past few decades, both in size and diversity. Nearly half of all voters live in a suburb.
Since George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004, the candidate who won the suburbs won the election, except in the 2012 contest when Mitt Romney won the suburbs but lost to Barack Obama.
But Trump is not faring well in those areas and the women that live in them.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll last month found 66 per cent of suburban women disapproved of the job President Trump is doing overall, and 58 per cent said they ‘strongly’ disapprove.
The suburbs have also been the scene of Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have sprung up around the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Trump has tried to wield those protests as a political weapon in his favor, using them to spark fears of violence and unrest.
The president has claimed if Biden is elected president ‘our suburbs’ would be destroyed.
‘Your home will go down in value, and crime rates will rapidly rise,’ Trump said. ‘People have worked all their lives to get into a community, and now they’re going to watch it go to hell. Not going to happen, not while I’m here.’
Last month, Trump upped his courtship of the suburbs and tied life there to the housing issue.
‘I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood,’ Trump tweeted on July 29, adding that ‘crime will go down.’
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, called it ‘blatant racism from the President of the United States.’
‘And it’s disgusting,’ the Massachusetts Democrat added.
In the tweet, Trump was pointing out how he had reversed an Obama-era housing rule that aimed to combat racial segregation, including in suburban neighborhoods.
‘Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down,’ Trump said, touting his move. ‘I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!’
AFFH stands for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, part of the 1968 federal Fair Housing Act.
It was updated under Obama in 2015 to push cities and town to identify patterns of discrimination in housing and issue plans to correct those problems.
Warren explained how the rule was put in place to help cities ‘address our country’s ugly legacy of government-backed housing discrimination and segregation.’