In play for suburban votes, Trump rescinds Obama-era fair housing rule

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday his administration was rescinding a regulation intended to combat discriminatory housing practices and segregation, in his latest bid to boost his support in the suburbs as he seeks re-election.

The rule, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing mandate, was established under Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration in 2015. It would have required communities that receive grants and housing aid to assess racial segregation in housing and offer plans to correct it.

“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 I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule.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!” Trump wrote in a series of tweets.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said last week that it would terminate the rule, calling it “unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with.”

Critics blasted the move.

“President Trump is actively working to gut fair housing laws and legalize housing discrimination,” U.S. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer wrote in a tweet. “We will fight this.”

California said last week it would continue to require local agencies to ensure they affirmatively furthered fair housing.

Trump’s move comes as support for the president has flagged in the suburbs, which played a key role in the Republican’s electoral victory in 2016 but have soured on him since.

“Let’s be clear: the President is using racist fear-mongering to say he’s happy to dismantle civil rights in search of a political advantage,” Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter.

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