On July 29 2020, screenshots of two tweets attributed to United States President Donald Trump appeared on Facebook, in which he purportedly addressed “people living their Suburban Dream Lifestyle” on the matter of “low income housing” in their neighborhoods:
Typically, two tweets were shown together. They read:
I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood…
…Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!
The AFFH Rule
On July 23 2020, ABC News reported about the Trump administration officially retiring the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule:
In a move squarely aimed at courting white conservative suburban voters, the Trump administration on [July 23 2020] officially dismantled an Obama-era rule that sought to lessen the impact of decades of racial segregation in America’s neighborhoods.
Housing Secretary Ben Carson said he was replacing the rule, known as the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, with a plan that more loosely defines the standard for fair housing as access to an affordable and safe residence.
Upon review of the Obama regulation, “we found it to be unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from communities that need them most,” he said in a statement released [on July 23 2020].
“The AFFH (Obama) rule was a ruse for social engineering under the guise of desegregation, essentially turning @HUDgov into a national zoning board,” he tweeted.
Per ABC News, Trump had previously claimed that former Vice President Joe Biden would effectively destroy suburbs:
Trump hinted at the move when he warned voters in a virtual town hall that Democratic candidate Joe Biden wants to “abolish” the suburbs and eliminate single family zoning, “bringing who knows into your suburbs, so your communities will be unsafe and your housing values will go down.”
The first Google search result we found for the AFFH rule was a broken link to a page on the website for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The page was last archived in 2017, and it read:
This fact sheet provides an overview of the duty to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH) and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Final Rule. The AFFH rule sets out a framework for local governments, States and Insular Areas, and public housing agencies to take meaningful actions to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination. To access other resources and training material related to AFFH, please visit the main page for all AFFH resources and training material.
Through Google’s cache, a crawl date of July 18 2020 was visible; we archived the archived page.
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (D) opined that the tweets surpassed mere dog whistle politics:
On July 29 2020, United States President Donald Trump published two highly controversial tweets. In the first, he said he was “happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.” In the second, he said “housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down,” noting that his administration rescinded the AFFH rule. Although many social media users thought the tweets were parodies, they were not.