Baltimore pastor to Trump: Thanks for investing in urban cores

Since Nancy Pelosi wants to talk about policy these days, this bipartisan success story should top the discussion list. Yesterday, Donald Trump announced signing of an executive order that creates a “revitalization council” focusing on lifting up impoverished urban neighborhoods, an effort which Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and former Obama advisor Van Jones helped drive in the White House. Trump announced that HUD Secretary Ben Carson would lead the effort:

Trump signed an executive order creating the Opportunity and Revitalization Council alongside a group including Democratic activist Van Jones and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. It will be led by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

He called the council a “very big thing” and said it would feature “efforts across the entire federal government to deliver jobs, investment and growth [in] the communities that need it the most,” according to a pool report.

Trump said the council would help “impoverished neighborhoods that have been ignored by Washington in years past.”

The announcement received relatively little attention. Unlike most events featuring Trump at the White House, it was not broadcast on cable news networks, C-SPAN, or on the White House’s website.

Imagine that. My friend Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia pointed it out to me late last night, along with the lack of media coverage it received. Presidential declarations on domestic policy don’t usually get breaking-news treatment, to be sure, but the rollout of an important new policy usually gets some mention. It’s also curious that the White House didn’t do more promotion of this event, though.

Baltimore’s local CBS affiliate did cover it, to their credit, along with the response from a local pastor. Rev, Donte Hickman declared Baltimore ready to demonstrate the successes that will follow from Trump’s initiative:

Baltimore pastor Donte Hickman, of the Southern Baptist Church, was there for the announcement and thanked the president in advanced for “funding and resources” he will direct to the urban communities like Baltimore.

“The executive order you signed today will make it possible for us to work with your administration on a common goal of investing to restore people as we rebuild properties in neglected communities,” Hickman said. …

“The resources of the whole federal government will be leveraged to rebuild low income and impoverished neighborhoods that have been ignored by Washington in years past. No community will be ignored, left on the sidelines,” Trump said.

A recent revision of federal tax code creates incentives for developers to invest in neighborhoods such as Broadway East, as that neighborhood is called, was designated an opportunity zone as well.

“Mr. President I want you and every agency and potential investor to know that in Baltimore, and in particular, Broadway East Baltimore, that we have the plan, that we have the property, we have the people, we have the professional expertise and we have a perspective to jump start your urban initiative,” Hickman added. “Baltimore is prepared to be a demonstration project for a national, urban revitalization strategy.”

If the media spent more time focusing on policy, efforts like these wouldn’t just be covered by local media. Perhaps that’s the point.

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