Last October, Mr. Trump was in Columbia to address a forum on policing and criminal justice — many of the issues protesters are taking to the streets over — held at Benedict College, a historically black institution. He spoke a day ahead of some of the 2020 Democratic candidates, including Mr. Biden.
“The Democratic policies have let African-Americans down and taken them for granted,” Mr. Trump said then.
Progressive black leaders are extremely critical of Mr. Trump, as are many black voters. But they also believe that Democrats have sometimes been their greatest obstacle in addressing police brutality and racial inequality.
“Part of the reason these are systemic inequalities is that they transcend not only party, but time,” said Ms. Abrams, who is among those being vetted by Mr. Biden as a potential running mate. She also noted that:“We have to be very intentional about saying this is not about one moment or one murder — but the entire infrastructure of justice.”
Ms. Pressley, one of the House members who introduced a resolution to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and the excessive use of force in Congress this past week, pointed to the confluence of issues facing black communities: a public health crisis, an economic crisis and, with the threat of police violence, “just trying to stay alive.”
Economic experts have predicted that even as the country faces a nationwide downturn, black communities may be hit particularly hard. Access to capital will dry up more quickly, especially for black business owners, and a coming “avalanche of evictions” could displace black renters across the country.
Ms. Pressley, an insurgent progressive in 2018 who beat a Democratic incumbent partly with a strategy to engage nontypical voters, said if elected officials want to speak to people’s pain, they have to understand the “deficit of trust” they’re operating under.