During the first general election debate on Monday night, Hillary Clinton called for new “common-sense” gun laws to stop the “leading cause of death for African American men.” Donald Trump, meanwhile, called for expanding stop-and-frisk in order to take guns away from black people.
In response to a question about race relations in the United States, Clinton spoke about the importance of both improving the relationship between law enforcement and the community and doing something about the high rate of gun violence. Trump talked about “law and order” and again suggested enacting stop-and-frisk in cities like Chicago.
New York’s use of stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in 2013 when a judge found that it was applied in a discriminatory manner. According to the ruling, “the policy encourages the targeting of young black and Hispanic men based on their prevalence in local crime complaints. This is a form of racial profiling.”
Yet when moderator Lester Holt pointed out that the practice is unconstitutional, Trump claimed that the judge “was a very against police judge” and that the issue isn’t about racial profiling.
“The argument is that we have to take the guns away from these people who have them and that are bad people that shouldn’t have them,” he said. “These are felons, these are bad people.”
He went on to talk about crime rates in cities like Chicago, falsely claiming that they have increased since Obama took office.
“When you have 3,000 shootings in Chicago from January 1, when you have 4,000 people killed in Chicago by guns from the beginning of the presidency in Barack Obama’s hometown, you have to have stop and frisk,” he said.
So to summarize, Clinton said she wants to keep guns away from potential criminals. Trump said he wants to keep guns away from black people.
The difference between the candidates’ remarks on race was stark. Many journalists and experts noted how Trump turned a question about race relations into one about crime and the need for “law and order.” Others on Twitter reflected on how Trump and Clinton speak to America’s black population.
— Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) September 27, 2016
Neither candidate spoke about white supremacy, despite the fact that polls show that a large portion of Trump supporters are driven by racist opinions. A June Reuters poll found that 40 percent of Trump supporters believe that blacks are more “lazy” than whites and nearly 50 percent believe that black people are more “violent” than whites.