AP FACT CHECK: Biden’s stance on suburbs twisted at RNC

Politics
NAT Trump

In this image from video, Mark and Patricia McCloskey speak from St. Louis, during the first night of the Republican National Convention Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A St. Louis lawyer featured during the Republican National Convention falsely claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his party want to “abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning.”

Biden does not propose banishing single-family homes. Nor would he get rid of the suburbs.

The accusation that he would came Monday night from Patricia McCloskey, celebrated by President Donald Trump and his convention for standing outside her St. Louis home with a gun and her husband, Mark, also armed, as racial justice protesters passed. The McCloskeys have been charged with a felony for brandishing their guns.

PATRICIA McCLOSKEY: “They want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning. This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into thriving suburban neighborhoods. President Trump smartly ended this government overreach, but Joe Biden wants to bring it back.” — videotaped remarks to the remote convention.

THE FACTS: That’s a false account of what Biden supports.

In 2015, during the Obama administration, a regulation took effect intended to ensure that communities confront racial segregation in housing.

The rule, put in place to strengthen enforcement of the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968, for the first time required more than 1,200 jurisdictions receiving federal Housing and Urban Development block grants and housing aid to analyze their housing stock and come up with plans to combat patterns of segregation and discrimination.

The rule did not eliminate zoning for single-family homes in the suburbs.

The Trump administration suspended full implementation of the rule in 2018 and withdrew a data tool designed to help cities analyze their housing, arguing it was too costly and burdensome.

Then last month Trump revoked the rule and tweeted to the “Suburban Housewives of America” that “Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream.” He made what fair housing advocates considered a racist argument playing on unfounded fears that low-income apartments would be forced into affluent neighborhoods.

Biden supports the 2015 regulation. But he does not support requiring municipalities to refrain from building single-family homes as a condition for getting money from HUD — the heart of the distorted claims by Trump and the McCloskeys.

The issue has become a sensitive election-year topic, especially in light of the protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

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EDITOR’S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.

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