Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

President Trump Stirs the Fair Housing Pot, Again

In a move probably made to appeal to suburban voters in an election year, President Trump sent a late night tweet claiming that the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule is having a 'devastating impact' on suburbs.
July 2, 2020, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments
Washington, D.C.
Mark Van Scyoc

"President Donald Trump threatened to overturn an Obama-era fair-housing regulation meant to eliminate discrimination, claiming that it 'is having a devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas,'" reports Lauren Frias

President Trump expressed his opinions about the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule in a late night tweet that neglected to mention his administration's ongoing efforts to undermine the rule since coming into office. Planetizen has been closely tracking the administration's actions on the rule, for example:

Additional news coverage of the president's tweets is also available from Katy O'Donnell, who also points out the Trump administration's previous work to gut fair housing practices and policies. 

Numerous commenters on social media noticed that Trump was probably reacting to an article published this week by Stanley Kurtz for the National Review, who sets up a potential democratic presidency as a death knell for the suburbs, as enabled by the AFFH:

Joe Biden and the Democrats want to abolish America’s suburbs. Biden and his party have embraced yet another dream of the radical Left: a federal takeover, transformation, and de facto urbanization of America’s suburbs.

How would Biden and the AFFH accomplish that goal, according to Kurtz? By ending local control. 

What surprises me is that Biden has actually promised to go much further than AFFH. Biden has embraced Cory Booker’s strategy for ending single-family zoning in the suburbs and creating what you might call “little downtowns” in the suburbs. Combine the Obama-Biden administration’s radical AFFH regulation with Booker’s new strategy, and I don’t see how the suburbs can retain their ability to govern themselves. It will mean the end of local control, the end of a style of living that many people prefer to the city, and therefore the end of meaningful choice in how Americans can live. Shouldn’t voters know that this is what’s at stake in the election?

It's worth noting that Senator Corey Booker isn't the only person in the federal government that supports the end of single-family zoning. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, appointed by President Trump, has also expressed support for such reforms, and has even published a report that opposes local control specifically. President Trump also signed an executive order to create the "White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing," which would be tasked with implementing similar zoning changes as those proposed by Senator Booker. Others have noticed the similarities in the land use agendas of the liberal arm of the Yes In My Backyard movement with the position of the HUD secretary and the president himself, even if Kurtz hasn't.

Kurtz, however, has a long history of antagonism toward the AFFH, and of Obama's "war on the suburbs," so Trump's late night tweet prompted a victory lap from Kurtz that continues to position this issue as a wedge that could drive more votes for President Trump in November.

Share Tweet LinkedIn Email