Our country needs a leader who cares about topics like criminal justice reform and healthcare. Make sure you vote on Nov. 3. (Photo by Madison Swart)

By Wayne Dawkins
Special to the AFRO

Don’t. Do not fall for the “okey-doke” from the 45th president, aka occupant of the White House.

So, Donald J. Trump says Black citizens should not vote for challenger Joe Biden because of the senator’s work on the 1994 crime bill. Yes, Biden signed off on that bill that became law. 

So did members of the Congressional Black Caucus, all confronted with the crack cocaine epidemic and rising violent urban crime.

True, conditions and politicians’ choices, in hindsight, were not always best, and that record has consequences. Biden and company have to own that justice blemish. Yet, a quarter-century later, the Democratic challenger bests the GOP incumbent unequivocally.

Trump had a 1994 record, too. The fake billionaire was bankrupting multiple casino hotels. 

Also, five years before that in 1989, Trump spent heavily and placed full-page advertisements in the New York Times and other papers in order to push the death penalty for five Harlem teenagers accused of the Central Park rape and battery of a Wall Street woman executive.

Oh, those Black men are now known as the Exonerated Five because these railroaded teens did not commit the crime. Today, Trump steadfastly refuses to apologize for his mistake, even as New York City ponied up $41 million in compensation for its horrifically bad decision.

Make sure you are registered to vote in the upcoming election on Nov. 3 so that your voice can be heard. (Photo by Madison Swart)

It’s rich then that No. 45 thinks he can advise Blacks and Browns on which leader will make better public policy choices regarding criminal justice.

But wait, readers might ask: didn’t Trump do right by that Black grandma from Memphis who was wallowing in federal prison for being a key player of a drug conspiracy? Commuting the sentence of Alice Johnson in 2018 revealed the crazy-as-a-fox genius of Trump. He cut her loose, for celebrity reasons, not based on the case’s merits. No. 45 could use the favor he did for Johnson to siphon enough Black votes from his Democratic challenger.

When Obama-Biden were in office from 2009-2017, the dynamic duo nibbled around the edges to reform weaponized criminal justice as best they could with an obstructionist GOP Senate and House majority. Obama-Biden:

* Fixed the crack vs. powder cocaine imbalance, which was 100-1 and disproportionately punished defendants of color.

*Set up consent decrees with police departments that engaged in misconduct, often against people of color (Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, immediately dismantled those police reforms. Sessions was soon kicked to the curb by the president because he recused himself from a case in order to dodge committing perjury).

*Commuted sentences, too, in criminal cases when legally sound, unlike Alice Johnson, “quintessential entrepreneur” of a drug ring, said the sentencing judge. 

President Trump the carnival barker is a showman who has no shame. Last week, he contracted COVID-19, the affliction he often mocked opponent Biden plus doctors and scientists because they urged prevention and caution.

Readers, if your health and your life depends on who will be leading the USA after the Nov. 3 election, who do you trust now?

The writer is a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.