At a campaign rally in Johnstown, Pa., Trump touted his repeal of an Obama-era regulation meant to expand low-income housing in suburbs in an attempt to quash racial discrimination and his support for law enforcement as reasons suburban voters should flock to his campaign.
“They talk about the suburban women. And somebody said, ‘I don’t know if the suburban woman likes you.’ I said, ‘Why?’” Trump told the crowd, though he did not clarify to whom he had spoken. “They said, ‘They may not like the way you talk,’ but I’m about law and order. I’m about having you safe. I’m about having your suburban communities. I don’t want to build low-income housing next to your house.”
“Suburban women, they should like me more than anybody here tonight because I ended the regulation that destroyed your neighborhood. I ended the regulation that brought crime to the suburbs, and you’re going to live the American dream,” he added. “So can I ask you to do me a favor? Suburban women, will you please like me? I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?”
The plea comes amid GOP hand-wringing that Trump’s flagging poll numbers in the suburbs and in crucial battleground states will doom his reelection campaign.
A Washington Post-ABC poll released in August showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden
Trump has based his attempts to regain ground in the suburbs on his opposition to fair housing regulations and his support for law enforcement amid a national reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality, railing against Black Lives Matter and casting protesters as anarchists and communists.
However, observers note that his remarks about the suburbs typically reflect the neighborhoods as they existed in decades past and not today.
“This is an imaginary suburb that Trump is talking about,” Brookings Institution demographer William Frey told The Hill in August. “Today, the suburbs are just like the rest of America. They’re rich and poor and Black and white and Hispanic.”
In a pivot, Trump noted the diversity of today’s suburbs, suggesting he was trying to help Americans of all stripes, claiming that 29 percent of suburbanites are people of color.
Still, the polls flash a warning sign for Trump in the final three weeks to Election Day. No Republican has won the White House without winning the suburban vote by at least 4 percentage points since 2004.