Clarence McKee has worked in public policy and media for decades, including service with the Reagan administration. McKee, author of the book “How Obama Failed Black America and How Trump Is Helping It: The Dirty Little Secret That the Media Won’t Tell You,” says he closely observed actions taken by President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump to help the black community.
The results speak for themselves, he says. McKee joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to break down the ways in which he says Trump’s policies serve the best interests of African Americans.
Also on today’s show, we read your letters to the editor and we share a good news story about a 10-year-old boy who started an initiative to spread more kindness in our world. Now he is on a mission to provide 100,000 people with a free meal this fall.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.
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Virginia Allen: I am joined by Clarence McKee, president and founder of McKee Communications Inc. and author of the book “How Obama Failed Black America and How Trump Is Helping It.” Clarence, welcome to the show.
Clarence McKee: My pleasure, Virginia. Thank you for inviting me, it’s a real honor.
Allen: Well, it’s great to have you here and discuss your book, which I was looking at the endorsements of the book and they are quite impressive.
Alveda King has endorsed the book, as well as Lt. Col. Allen West; the former lieutenant governor of Florida, Jennifer Carroll; the chairman of BlakPac, George Farrell. Really impressive to see all the individuals that have spoken so highly of this book. And it really came from many of the blogs that you’ve written at Newsmax on the silent minority.
So if you could just talk a little bit about what prompted you to begin writing about both President [Donald] Trump and President [Barack] Obama and what they have and haven’t done for the black community.
McKee: Well, it started—thank you for the mention of it in my Newsmax blog—as I went back over those, and as I was writing them as well in real time, they’re all real time, about situations going on at that time regarding Obama on various issues, immigration, the economy, race, baiting, school choice, things of that sort.
And I looked back and I said, “What did the president—the first black president of United States, who everybody was very, in the black community, pleased and honored … “
We had a black president, I disagreed with his philosophy, but I was glad, it was an honor to have a black president because it says a lot about the United States.
But then I said, “Well, what’d he do? And what did that mean?” I compared it then to some issues of importance to the black community. And I said, “Well, he didn’t do much.”
And then came across a Gallup study in 2016 saying that 52% of the black population, of those surveyed, didn’t think he had done enough. So that’s why I said, “I better write this down and get a lot of things off of my chest.”
And I looked at what Trump was doing. I said, “Wow, he’s doing a lot more when he’s [not] getting any credit for it at all.” Because Obama’s held up on his pedestal by the black civil rights leadership, and the press knows that dirty little secret, the media won’t tell anybody that. What did he do for blacks? Not much.
Allen: We are talking with Clarence McKee author of the book “How Obama Failed Black America and How Trump Is Helping It.”
So, Clarence, you’ve worked in the field of public policy for a very long time. You served in the Reagan-Bush administration. You’ve also worked in the news industry for many, many years. So you’ve really followed many, many presidential administrations very closely.
So when President Obama was elected, what were your expectations for his presidency?
McKee: Well, I thought, first of all, being from the city of Chicago, that he would immediately have his Department of Justice start looking into the mass, I call it mass murders going on in that city.
I think, gosh, since 2000, there’ve been more people killed there than in Afghanistan. I thought that would be an issue. I thought that schools would be an issue.
And then it turns out that he never addressed that, he went right to helping groups of people. Blacks were his main constituency, however, he supported the gay rights movement, which is fine.
He helped on same-sex marriage in terms of he came on supporting that. He helped big time on the abortion front, Planned Parenthood, and he wrote in the same big pocket.
Those groups got attention. Illegal aliens, he helped them too. But blacks didn’t get any attention. It was kind of [like he] took us for granted, and only came up to help black people and get into race when it was beneficial to him.
Allen: So when you look back on Obama’s eight years in office, what are some of those things that, as you went back and kind of reviewed those years and said, “Wait a second, what did President Obama do for the black community?”, what were some of those things that maybe stood out to you or surprised you?
McKee: It’s more the surprise. It’s more of what he did not do, as more of the positions he took. And that’s why there was such a striking comparison between him and what I was seeing in the beginnings of the Trump administration.
Just take one, just take school choice. I mean, it’s a great program, it helps a lot of kids trapped in inner-city schools.
The first thing Obama did when he got into Washington, after he put his kids in a private school, is he zeroed out of the budget money for the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, which was a program started by George W. Bush to help poor kids go to private schools. Well, he got rid of it. Why? Because of the teachers unions.
It was put back, thanks to the Republican Congress, but he was against that, which to me, as I said in one article, was throwing blacks under the bus. That was the first thing.
And there [are] several others I’m going to get into it. But school choice was the big one. It means more to a lot of blacks in this country than a lot of other issues; meant a lot in Florida.
Allen: Yeah, school choice is an issue that here at The Heritage Foundation we are so passionate about, and is such a critical topic. I do want to ask you that same question, though, of expectations for President Trump. What were you expecting to see from him when he took office four years ago?
McKee: Trump had a vision and he said, “I want to help the black community.” Plus, his economic policies on jobs and turning things around. It was the height of the Obama administration, you had 12 million black people on food stamps. And so Trump was wanting to turn the country around and get America moving again. That’s what I was expecting. And that’s exactly what we got.
Allen: Let’s get in a little bit more to that economic policy and how specifically his economic policies have been so beneficial to the African American community.
McKee: You know the old expression, Virginia, “A rising tide lifts all boats?”
McKee: That’s been the chapter in the book on this, that the rising economic tide pre-pandemic lifted a lot of black boats with the rest of the country. You got 5.4% black unemployment back in August . And if you take the last three quarters of last year, up through February, it was about 5.6%. That’s phenomenal.
Economically, lower-wage, low-income people, lower-skilled persons, they got wage increases greater than their supervisors in terms of percentages—1.6 million blacks getting off of food stamps, all of those things were important.
And you said, what else in the economy? … Let me put it down to a community level, cutting back regulations. If you have a barbershop and you’re a self-employed person, regulations can kill you. Same thing at a national level.
When the president cut regulations in energy and all these other companies, it freed up opportunities for companies to give jobs and get jobs. That way things got so good for everybody.
The tax cuts. I think the Council of Economic Advisers said $2 or $3 trillion came back into this country and companies could hire people. That was very, very important. The economy was the basis for the whole recovery and it looks like it’s going back to that now after the pandemic.
Allen: Yeah, it’s been encouraging to see some of that movement already, like you say, going in the right direction. As you look back on these past four years, what maybe is to you the most significant impact Trump has had on the black community?
McKee: Caring and actually moving on his promises. You know, if you take a look at eight years of Obama, the only thing that they did, the Democrats, they bring up racism every single time as the election, because they haven’t offered the black community anything else. So they fall back on this racism thing. And it’s been consistent.
But if you look back on it, you can say school choice, I mentioned, I mean, it’s phenomenal that he’s got this going. … It’s [a] basic civil right now for families.
Urban revitalization. What did Obama do and the Democrats for urban revitalization in the last eight years, 10 years, 12 years, whatever? Nothing. We have opportunity zones, $75 billion, I think, is expended so far just on that program alone. … He worked very closely with Sen. [Tim] Scott.
Prison reform, that’s big. I mean, if you look at the cover of my book, it’s got three beautiful little black kids on it. And they represent those families who lost their fathers, who were arrested under the draconian prison bill and drug bill of 1994. … Under Trump and that program, the prison reform, a lot of those people who were convicted of nonviolent drug offenses are out, they’re getting out.
And 93% of those, according to the Bureau of Prisons, that have been released under that have been black men; very, very important.
Illegal immigration was another biggie. It was going, that didn’t help black people at all. Under the Obama policies, you had basically open immigration, catch and release, open borders. The president’s cracking down on that, that’s good.
And as you know, who gets hurt by illegal immigration? Low-skilled workers, and no-skilled workers. So those three things are very, very important, in addition to the jobs.
I’ll get into abortion in a second, but those are … the basic things that have really helped the community that Trump has done, that they are seeing it.
Allen: You mentioned abortion. And we know, looking at the statistics, that the group of people that have suffered the most under Roe v. Wade are African American babies.
McKee: Approximately, the black pro-life movement estimates 15 to 20 million have been killed. I make this point in the book on the chapter on abortion.
Dr. Alveda King, who’s endorsed the book, she’s a great friend and great person, she quotes the statistic that one-third of all abortions, one-third are black. And blacks, we’re only 12% of the population in the country. And we’re one-third of the abortions. She has called it genocide. It’s horrible. And the right to life is very important.
And Donald Trump is probably one of the most pro-life presidents we’ve ever had in the White House ever. I mean, he got up at his State of the Union address and talks about it, even though [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi tears up the address, she’s also tearing up his ideas when she did that.
He spoke out against very strongly [what] the governor of Virginia stated about, “Well, if there’s a botched abortion, that baby’s alive, we’ll let it be, make it comfortable.” Are you kidding me?
And then in New York state, when those legislators applauded after the passed draconian pro-abortion bill, almost right up to the point of birth. It was disgusting. [The] president has spoken out against that very vividly.
First president to attend the, I’m thinking right to life rally, wasn’t it? So he’s been very strong on that issue and it’s very, very important. And black people are very sensitive to that, notwithstanding the civil rights movement, it’s also in the pocket of the abortion movement, Planned Parenthood.
Allen: Speaking broadly, why do you argue that conservative policies serve the African American community better than policies from the far left do?
McKee: Well, take a look at the policies. Is it better to have 12 million blacks on food stamps or is it better to have 2 million less than you had during the Democratic years, eight years of Obama?
Is it better for blacks to get welfare and not have a job? The left says, “Let me help you. I’m from the government, I want to help you. Let us give you this. Let us give you that. Then we are your masters if you do that.”
But blacks, being independent as we were … If you go before the 1960s, when blacks owned a lot of their own businesses and didn’t count on the government, … the black families were stronger then than they were now.
You had situations where [there were] very few single-parent households, the divorce rate was down, the illegitimacy rate was low. And things changed after the federal government got into the game.
The man in the house rule, you’re probably too young to remember that, where you can’t get your welfare check if there’s a man in the house, things of that sort. Government dependency, … the left likes that. Just look at what they’re proposing now coming up.
On the right side, on the conservative side, it’s, “You are an individual. You are not a member of a group.” It’s based [on] individual merit and individual talent, just to make sure everybody has an equal chance to start the race.
You had a great story a couple of weeks ago, we had an article on women in athletics and Title IX, and whether they’re getting discriminated against because of the transgender movement, etc. But the whole thing was over, you have equal starting gate. Everyone starts out with nothing, no hands tied behind them, equality and equal opportunity, not equal results.
The left says, and I’m scaring you sometimes, scaring us, “Equal results. It’s going to be based on your identity and not your merit.” That’s a very dangerous thing in politics and government, and that’s where we’re headed with the far left. And not so much the far left, it’s just a Democratic Party and the way our country’s going. It’s a shame.
Allen: What would you say to those on the left who argue, “Well, but there aren’t equal opportunities.” That if you’re born into maybe a low-income area as an African American individual, your opportunities put you far, far behind maybe a Caucasian individual that’s born in suburbia America?
McKee: Well, what about a white boy who is born in Appalachia who is very, very poor? What are his chances compared to a black born in … Look at the Obama kids, versus a white boy or girl in Appalachia. So of course there’s going to be … this has been the story of history. Blacks who grew up—some of the greatest, Frederick Douglass by God, a slave.
If you let people say, “Well, because you’re black, you’re not going to get anywhere; because you’re born here, you’re not going to get anywhere.” What does that tell a 12-year-old kid, or a 7-year-old kid, with that critical race theory? I think that’s what they call it.
The 1619 Project, which is basically racism in reverse, “Well, you can’t make it if you’re black in this country because it’s all racist.”
You don’t tell people that. You can do anything you want to. That’s why I believe, under the days of segregated schools, how some of these black kids excelled, some of the greatest, highest grade marks coming out of the schools in D.C. then compared to now.
So I would tell them, I don’t want to hear it. You go tell somebody else that. Tell your own kids they can’t make it, but don’t be coming telling black people, “You can’t make it because you’re born poor.”
It’s like the little liberal elite white kids were spitting in [the] faces of policemen at these rallies and these demonstrations, who never had to worry about a thing in their life, and spitting in the face of a black cop who had to work his way up the hard way, which is totally disgusting. That’s Antifa.
Allen: Yeah, it is. It is disgusting, I agree. There are few things that get me as riled up as that does. So, really, what you’re saying is it’s shifting the narrative from, “You are a victim,” to, “No, you can overcome even the hardest of challenges”?
McKee: Black people are not victims. My gosh. Here’s the bottom line here, if we were such victims and we were such a racist country—and there’s racial problems, we know that—how do you beget a country that elects a black man president of the United States for two terms? Is that a racist country?
South Africa, now, if you were in old South Africa, probably many ways, same today, if you were in apartheid South Africa, you could say, “Oh, gosh, you don’t have a chance because they’re not going to let you go far, schools or anything else.”
But that’s not the case in the United States. We had apartheid here under segregation, but those days are over. And even then black kids were doing well in school because you had to. Now education is not the No. 1 it seems, unfortunately, but it should be.
Jefferson was right. Our Constitution is correct. Those are the ideals. Frederick Douglass said those are the ideals. … Remember the time he criticized the Lincoln statute, he said, “You know, I like the goals of our Constitution, they’re great. We have to live up to the words.” … It’s the greatest document in the world. And it’s 1776, not 1619.
It’s the goals of this country. That’s why people are trying to get in. I don’t see many of these Antifa people trying to leave the country. Do you?
Allen: It’s a good point.
McKee: Or Black Lives Matter, they aren’t running to Haiti. And they’re not running to Ghana, which, Ghana is a good country. They’re not running to the Congo. They’re all just staying here, they’re not trying to rush out. If it’s so bad, leave, if you ask me.
Allen: Clarence, thank you. The book, “How Obama Failed Black America and How Trump Is Helping It,” is available on Amazon, so we will be sure to put a link in the show notes today, so you all can order your own copy.
McKee: That’s great, thank you.
Allen: Of course. But before we let you go, tell us a little bit about how we can follow your work at Newsmax and your work in general.
McKee: Yes, newsmax.com/mckee. … And you’ll see all of my articles and columns. I get a lot off my chest writing, Virginia. That’s how I vent my frustrations. That’s … one reason I did the book. Also, you can see it on clarencemckee.com, … where you get a lot of the background.
But that’s where they can follow me. [Also,] I’m new to Twitter, I’m learning your social media. It’s @Clarence_McKee, … that’s the Twitter.
Allen: OK, perfect.
McKee: Thank you.
Allen: Thank you, Clarence. We just really appreciate you coming on the show, and we appreciate you laying out this issue for us and really breaking it down today very much. Very, very helpful. So, thank you.
McKee: No, thank you and The Heritage Foundation.