Republican Tim Scott falsely claims Biden policy resegregates public schools | US elections 2024

Donald Trump’s inner circle is stepping up efforts to woo Black and other minority voters, with a leading candidate to be his vice-presidential running mate claiming falsely on Sunday TV that Joe Biden was resegregating US public schools.

Tim Scott, the US senator from South Carolina who has been open about his desire to be on Trump’s ticket, made one of the most extreme claims yet. Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union show, he described President Biden as a supporter of educational segregation.

“We need four more years of common sense under Donald Trump, and not four more years of segregation under Joe Biden,” Scott, who is African American, said.

Asked by CNN host Dana Bash whether suggesting Biden was for segregation was going too far, Scott tried to justify the contention by saying that “the elimination of charter schools under Joe Biden resegregates schools in America”. He added that schools in the largest cities were being resegregated by “Joe Biden’s Department of Education which has halted the growth of charter schools that provide greater diversity”.

In fact, charter schools, which are publicly funded but which operate outside state school systems, are backed by federal government grants through the Charter Schools Program to the tune of $440m a year – a level that has remained unchanged since 2019 under the Trump administration. Scott’s argument that charter schools create more diversity is also open to question.

New research carried out by sociologists at Stanford University and the University of Southern California to mark 70 years of the landmark US supreme court ruling outlawing segregated schools, Brown v Board of Education, reveals that segregation has been creeping back up for the past 30 years. One of the main drivers of the revival, contrary to Scott’s claim, has been the rise of charter schools, the academics discovered.

In recent weeks Trump has stepped up his attempt to prise Black voters away from their long-standing support for the Democratic party. On Thursday, he staged a rally in the South Bronx, one of the most diverse and staunchly Democratic parts of the country, where 95% of the population is Black or Hispanic.

Trump made a brazen play for the support of Black voters at the rally, talking about “millions and millions of illegals coming into the country” who he said had a negative impact particularly on minority American communities. “African Americans are getting slaughtered. Hispanic Americans are being slaughtered,” he said.

The Trump campaign push comes as recent opinion polls indicate that his support among these demographic populations is climbing. The Pew Research Center found in a recent survey that 18% of Black voters were leaning for Trump, compared with the 8% of Black voters who voted for him in 2020.

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The Biden campaign has responded to the apparent shift towards Trump by targeting negative political adverts accusing Trump of a track record of racism. Last week it released a 30-second ad that invoked the case of the Central Park Five, Black men who were wrongly convicted of raping a jogger in 1989.

Trump took out a full-page advert in local newspapers soon after the men were arrested, calling for New York to bring back the death penalty.

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