Team of Vipers
Cliff Sims
Contributed by Shemika Thormahlen
Chapter 10

In 2016, Trump declared his support for the black community in the United States. In a speech given on the day, he spoke eloquently about the plight of the black communities and recognised that most of them are living in poverty, which has had adverse effects on their lives. Trump said that “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, fifty-eight percent of your youth [are] unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?” The statement was a potent weapon used against the Democrats. At the time, Pollsters were indicating that a significant majority of the blacks were supporting Democrats. However, even in the last administration when a Democrat, President Barrack Obama, was in office, there was not much with regards to social and economic changes that African Americans had realized. So when President Trump met with the Congressional Black Caucus in March 2017, he wanted to assure them that he had the interests of the blacks at heart. During this meeting, Trump showed his determination to initiate policies which would help improve the social and economic conditions of the blacks.

However, it was not long before both sides started reading from different scripts. “With that, what started as a hopeful effort to improve race relations was officially crushed under the weight of hard feelings, pettiness, mistrust, and the cynicism of Washington, D.C. The whole episode was a metaphor for the Trump administration on race. Even when the intentions were good, the end result was almost always a mess. And then, of course, sometimes the wounds were needlessly self-inflicted.” Sims mentions that during the meeting, Trump succeeded in gaining the trust of the CBS since he made sure that he told them what they wanted to hear, and give them promises which they wanted even though he was not certain whether they could be accomplished. While race relations is a significant problem in the United States and it is the duty of any responsible government to seek solutions to these problems, it is also important to note that race problems do not surround only black Americans and it was not proper for President Trump to seek to engage only the black caucus leadership.

The ban on immigration into the United States from seven countries in the Middle East had caused massive division within the country. While some people deemed this as racial profiling, there are those who saw it as the President exercising his responsibility to protect the residents of the United States: “The President’s first duty is to protect the American people. Refugees are often impossible to vet. Many of the refugees I met had no identification other than what they received when being processed into a camp. They openly discussed their fears that ISIS had infiltrated the camps and bristled at the violence and drug use that had become so prevalent.” While the action may seem outrageous and racially instigated, it is notable that the race problem in the United States is a highly complex issue, one that requires careful planning and strategizing to resolve. However, it is emerging that Trump is clearly not in touch with reality, which leads to numerous policy mistakes being made.

It should also be noted, from this chapter, that religion plays a significant role in America’s politics. Sims states the “Christians had voted for Trump in record numbers”, and that “The alliance between Trump and evangelicals was powerful, and both sides reaped the political benefits. Trump was propelled into the world’s most powerful office. Evangelicals immediately got a dream Supreme Court nominee in Neil Gorsuch. But when the President occasionally struggled to lead with moral clarity, to unify the country on divisive cultural issues, the silence of his “spiritual advisers” was deafening”. In many instances, religion determines the choices that people make when it comes to choosing their leaders.


Race and religion are two critical issues which characterize America’s political landscape. Over the years, the political class has demonstrated a desire to end racial antagonism in the country by making sure that all Americans are accorded the respect and opportunity with which they deserve, irrespective of their racial affiliation. The decision by President Trump to have a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus was a step in the right direction. However, it emerges that Trump, just like many other politicians, was not honest in his approach, as proven by the subsequent actions and statements demonstrated by the administration. On religion, Sims makes it clear that “Donald Trump is not a religious man—that’s no secret to anyone. He viewed the faith community as a political constituency. In that regard, he was as committed as any church member. He delivered massive political results”. Trump clearly understood that religion affects politics in America, and that he only went to church to gain in a political sense. That is the height of dishonesty.

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