Donald Trump has become the Republican nominee in part through divisive and hateful rhetoric. So it’s somewhat ironic that he and Jesse Jackson, the iconic civil rights leaders, agree on at least one important topic: the need for infrastructure investment at home, instead of nation building abroad.
As Rev. Jackson wrote in a recent column on the Flint water crisis:
This country continues to squander billions on failed “nation building” efforts on the other side of the world. We wasted over $2 trillion on the debacle in Iraq that has helped destabilize the greater Middle East. As Flint has revealed, we will face spreading calamities from obsolete water systems, dangerous bridges, crumbling roads, dated and insufficient mass transit. It is time we stop pretending we can police the world and start rebuilding our country here at home.
Compare that with Trump’s argument in the Washington Post about what’s ailing America’s inner cities:
And I just think we have to rebuild our country. If you look at the infrastructure — I just landed at an airport where, not in good shape, not in good shape. If you go to Qatar and if you go to (inaudible) you see airports the likes of which you have never seen before. Dubai, different places in China. You see infrastructure, you see airports, other things, the likes of which you have never seen here.
We have a country that is in bad shape, it’s in bad condition. You look at our inner cities, our inner cities are a horrible mess. I watched Baltimore, I have many, many friends in Baltimore, we watched what happened. St. Louis, Ferguson, Oakland, it could have been much worse over the summer. And it will probably be worse this summer. But you look at some of our inner cities. And yet you know I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they’d be blown up. And we’d build another one and it would get blown up. And we would rebuild it three times. And yet we can’t build a school in Brooklyn. We have no money for education, because we can’t build in our own country. And at what point do you say hey, we have to take care of ourselves. So, you know, I know the outer world exists and I’ll be very cognizant of that but at the same time, our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially in the inner cities.
And in an earlier interview with the Guardian, Trump expressed support for investing in mass transit.
Now I’m sure Jackson and Trump won’t agree on much else. But on such an important issue, it’s pretty amazing to see this convergence from such polar-opposite leaders.