Trump’s highest-ranking Black staffer Ja’Ron Smith announces ‘planned’ resignation

Ja'Ron Smith worked with Trump's son-in-law/advisor Jared Kushner as a liaison to the Black community

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President Donald Trump‘s aid Ja’Ron Smith is leaving the administration, he recently announced via Twitter. Smith was the highest-ranking African-American in the White House, tasked with outreach to the Black and Hispanic community.

Throughout his tenure as deputy assistant for domestic policy, he worked with Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner on the Platinum Plan which detailed initiatives for African-Americans, helped determine federal support for HBCU’s and helped craft Trump’s criminal justice programs. Smith was part of the team behind the executive order on policing Trump signed in June after protests roiled the nation after George Floyd’s death.

Ja'Ron Smith, Trump, Jared Kushner thegrio.com
Ja’Ron Smith (Public Domain)

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“It was the honor of a lifetime to serve President Donald J. Trump,” Smith said in his post. “When joining the Trump Administration, I set out to achieve the empty promises of the past, and I am proud to say promises made, promises kept. In four years, President Trump has delivered for Black America; record low unemployment, Opportunity Zones, criminal justice reform, historic funding for HBCUs, and the list goes on.”

According to The Hill, Smith joined the White House in 2017 to advise Trump on urban affairs and revitalization. According to CNN, the Cleveland native holds both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s of divinity degree from Howard University, and while there worked with Oklahoma representative J.C. Watts, South Carolina senator Tim Scott and with Mike Pence when he was an Indiana congressman.

Smith is heading to a non-profit, according to Bloomberg, who first reported the story. He was the most prominent African-American member of Trump’s team after Omarosa Manigault Newman departed in controversy in 2018. The outlet says Smith’s departure was planned before Joe Biden became the president-elect over the weekend and that a “growing family,” which includes twins on the way, is part of the reason he’s leaving.

Premiere Of Briarcliff Entertainment's "Fahrenheit 11/9" - Red Carpet
Omarosa Manigault Newman attends the premiere of Briarcliff Entertainment’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on September 19, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

On a 2017 episode of Holistic Housing, the podcast for the National Association for County Community and Economic Development, Smith explained why he’d come to embrace conservative values.

“Growing up where I grew up, Republicans were like a bad word,” he said. “I had to learn what it meant to be a conservative. It really was, you know, cultivating individuality… Well that’s what I’m all about, because I think everyone has talents and gifts, if given the right opportunity. And so that really led me on a whole pursuit of truth and figuring out what’s the right way to revitalize and create opportunity for people.”

Trump has praised Smith in the past and he was one of the African-American men who spoke during the virtual Republic National Convention this year.

“Every issue important to Black communities has been a priority for him. Prison reform, rebuilding broken families, bringing jobs back to America, jobs in Cleveland, jobs in Detroit, jobs in Milwaukee,” Smith said during his convention address.

As theGrio reported, Kushner generated controversy a few weeks ago when he said African-Americans needed to ‘want’ success. Smith tweeted out his support for Kushner afterward.

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“It’s been an honor to serve with Jared Kushner, a man who has been a huge advocate for the issues that impact Black America….First Step Act, Opportunity Zones, Access to Capital, USMCA, and jobs in the Black community….I will always stand with you Brother!!!

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