White House Adviser Ja’Ron Smith’s full speech at the Republican National Convention

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Ja’Ron Smith, who advises the president on domestic policy, spoke on the final night of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 27, 2020.


Hello. My name is Ja’Ron Smith. 20 years ago, I moved to Washington, D.C. to attend Howard University. I was at a crossroads, just like America is today. I grew up on Strandhill Road in Cleveland, a blue collar street in a blue collar city. When the media talks about forgotten places or working class people who are overlooked and struggling hard, there’s usually some stock photo of people who don’t look like me. They never seem to show people like my mom, who worked two jobs as a gas station clerk and a mom. She showed me how to persevere. They never seem to show people like my dad, who plowed snow in the winter and paved streets in the summer. Who stood by me through thick and thin and taught me strong values every day. They never seem to show people like me.

At first, I didn’t live the values my parents taught me. I won a starting spot on the varsity football team but I only had a 1.9 GPA. But then I broke my leg. It took a broken leg for me to really get moving in life. I prioritized schoolwork, went to Howard, and ended up working for the President of the United States. Growing up, I never really known a Republican. I believed all the stereotypes. It took a meeting with Republicans who shared my values to show me I was wrong. Donald Trump knows that in the work of revitalizing communities, America’s strength is Americas people and I can tell you, he really cares and he takes action.

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. President Trump knows that education is the great equalizer. That’s why he secured record and permanent funding for historically black colleges and universities and is fighting hard for school choice. In the wake of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and LeGend Taliferro, a moment of national racial consciousness. I have seen his true conscience. I just wish everyone could see the deep empathy he shows to families whose loved ones were killed in senseless violence.

President Trump has made it clear that if you want safe communities, you must have police departments with the highest standards. I will never forget Strandhill Road or the people of Cleveland. They’re tough, smart, and tell it like it is. That’s President Trump. For a New Yorker, he’s got a lot of Cleveland heart, and I’m proud to say that he’s my president. God bless America.

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