For Black People to Be Safe, Trump Must Resign

A new poll shows that 72 percent of Black people think Trump should resign. In both policy and narrative, Trump has presented an existential threat to Black Americans that has certainly resulted in the loss of Black life and a higher level of danger to the community.

People of all backgrounds are showing historic support for the Movement for Black Lives and for defunding the police. As the tide turns, Trump is responding with a desperate flurry of responses to re-center himself, while threatening entire populations, the right to free speech, and democracy itself. His presidency has been marred by corruption, incompetence, and repeated incitements of violence against communities of color. We have all seen the rallies and heard the speeches.

“These crazy people actually want to defund the police,’’ Trump said tonight. “I’m serious, this is a serious movement. When you call 911 ’cause a bad hombre is breaking into your house, the phone will be disconnected. They are absolutely crazy, but they are serious.”

We are serious. Our movement has stirred the American conscience and unapologetically named both historical and ongoing violence against Black people. We have made this much clear: We will never be safe as long as Trump is in office.

In order for peace and justice to prevail in our community, Trump must resign.

The Movement for Black Lives is inviting everyone to join us: to reimagine what a truly thriving Black community would look like, and what it would take to get there.

The path ahead is paved with well-established facts and a keen eye on both the past and the present. We know that the safest communities in America are places that don’t dwell in fear; they ensure that each of us is valued, and they don’t center the police.

We need look no further than neighborhoods where the wealthy, well-connected, and well-off live, or anywhere there is easy access to living wages, healthcare, quality public education,

and freedom from police terror. What we’re looking for already exists, and we already know it works.

We also know that people in American are open to this conversation.

However, our call to action for safety, freedom, and agency has been met with insecurity and scorn by Donald Trump. Instead of being a partner in the project of ensuring the safety of Black people, he perceives the shift we have created as a threat to himself. So he is responding the only way he knows how — by doubling down on hate and fearmongering, and further endangering Black people.

Even before millions of Americans took to the streets to call for an end to police violence, Donald Trump had already spoken loudly on race. He demanded the execution of young Black and brown people in the case of the Central Park Five. He called for violence against protesters at his rallies. He defended murderous white supremacists, deeming them “very fine people.”

Trump has abandoned the basic duties of the executive office during a pandemic. We have lost our jobs and livelihoods. Over 100,000 people in this country have met unnecessary deaths. Their loss is at the hands of this president.

This did not have to happen, but now that it has, we must act.

While it is difficult to quantify how many Black people have died at the hands of Donald Trump’s presidency, we know he was already a danger to our community. He has signaled his cover for racism among the country’s most entrenched bastions of bigotry. Perpetrators of hate crimes have targeted their terror against communities of color, goaded by a spiteful president. Trump has also erected barriers to the ballot that we have not seen from a president since prior to the civil rights movement, and has tacitly encouraged his supporters to intimidate Black voters. He is in court fighting to take healthcare away from countless Black people. He lobbed a racist insult at African countries and ground Black immigration to a halt. He has defended the idolization of pro-slavery Conferederate leaders, and has “diminished to the point of extinction” the lone division of the Department of Justice that created positive change around policing. Trump routinely uses words from racist propaganda playbooks to define Black people as not worthy of belonging.

Enough is enough.

It is no wonder a new poll shows that 72 percent of Black people think Trump should resign. On both policy and narrative, Trump has presented an existential threat to Black Americans that has certainly resulted in the loss of Black life and a higher level of danger to the community.

Despite every attempt to silence us, our movement has flourished.

The cold-blooded, slow-motion murder of George Floyd with a knee to his kneck, and the anguish it caused his family and the Black community, awakened something in the rest of the country. Companies are making statements affirming the value of Black lives. Influential sports entities like the NFL and NASCAR are engaged in some level of public reckoning over the country’s history of racism and how it has permeated their institutions. To be sure, statements of affirmation from corporate America are no panacea for liberation. Rather, they are a notable sign of what it looks like when society begins to reckon with its history of oppression and turn toward the process of racial healing.

This very moment, public opinion is in our favor. Our efforts to organize and teach others about our own history — our own value — are yielding results. Minds are changing, hearts are aligning, and people are ready for change.

As we took to the streets to protest the rampant scourge of police violence, Trump gave elected officials around the country the green light to “dominate” us with those same out-of-control police forces. He took the extreme step of using the military to face off against civilians. He tear-gassed us for a photo-op. His recent statement, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” effectively removes the first amendment of the Constitution. This was Trump’s attempt to turn protesting our very murders into a death sentence.

Trump perceives our success as his demise; he sees the shift we have created a threat. His response: marshalling the forces of white supremacy to stoke the flames of racist violence in our country. This is not leadership — it is cowardice.

Protesting and the right to freedom of expression are fundamental responses to the trajectory of this country. The United States is rooted in white supremacy, slavery, and genocide. In order to modernize our Constitution, our laws, and our institutions, we must transform.

Fighting for justice is our birthright. Regardless of your background, race, or political stripe, none of us should coexist with a president who turns the crosshairs of the military against the most basic of American freedoms.

Americans have shown that this is a moment in which we are open to listening to one another. One thing is clear: Black people will not be safe with Trump as president. This is a matter of survival.

In this moment of reckoning, it is our collective duty to dig more deeply into what it means to build solidarity with one another and to build a more perfect union — and we are at an important fork in the road. One path challenges us to stretch toward justice and find new ways to protect ourselves and each other. The other path is marked by cowardly and divisive leaders sowing more discord and fear.

For us, the choice is clear. In order for Black people to truly have a path forward in this country, Trump must resign.

The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of over 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize, and take action.