Ja’Ron Smith, assistant to the president for domestic policy, spoke Thursday night in support of President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.
Smith, the highest ranking black White House official in the Trump administration, drew from his experience growing up in the Rust Belt city of Cleveland. He said he then built a life that led to Howard University and eventually to the White House, painting a picture of the president as a caring man with “deep empathy.”
“At first, I didn’t live the values my parents taught me,” Smith said. “I won a starting spot on the varsity football team, but I only had a 1.9 GPA. But then, I broke my leg. It took a broken leg for me to really get moving in life. I prioritized school work, went to Howard and ended up working for the president of the United States.”
“Growing up, I’d never really known a Republican — I believed all the stereotypes,” he continued. “It took meeting Republicans who shared my values to show me I was wrong. Donald Trump knows that in the work of revitalizing communities, America’s strength is America’s people. And I can tell you — he really cares, and he takes action.”
Smith listed several issues “important to black communities” that Trump has taken action on, including prison reform and jobs, before addressing the “deep empathy” Trump showed to the families of those killed by police.
“In the wake of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and LeGend Taliferro — a moment of national racial consciousness — I have seen his true conscience,” he said. “I just wish everyone could see the deep empathy he shows to families whose loved ones were killed in senseless violence.”
“I’ll never forget Strandhill Road or the people of Cleveland,” Smith concluded. “They’re tough, smart, and tell it like it is. That’s President Trump. For a New Yorker, he’s got a lot of Cleveland heart, and I’m proud to say that he’s my president.”
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