How Trump Is Using Westchester to Stir Up Suburban Fears

The measure was intended to give local officials clearer guidance on how to provide fairer access to housing for those who had been denied such opportunities in the past, in part by creating stricter benchmarks for receiving the federal housing aid.

Fair-housing advocates hailed the rule, saying it would finally, after nearly five decades, put real muscle behind the 1968 law.

But compliance proved to be difficult.

Not long. Ben Carson, Mr. Trump’s pick for federal housing secretary, criticized the provision at his Senate confirmation hearings. After he was confirmed, the rule was effectively left in limbo.

In January 2018, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, said it was suspending the rule for two years, telling local governments that were still working on their compliance plans that they need not submit them. The department also said it would stop reviewing plans that had already been filed.

Last January, HUD posted a notice saying it was considering weakening the rule to account for “the unique needs and difficulties faced by individual jurisdictions” in complying with a 92-item questionnaire that was required to obtain federal funds.

Then, on June 30, Mr. Trump took aim at the rule in a Twitter post, writing that “at the request of many great Americans” he was “studying it” because of what he said was its “a devastating impact” on “once thriving Suburban areas.”

“Not fair to homeowners,” he added. “I may END!”

By the end of the month, it was dead.

“I’ve been watching this for years in Westchester, coming from New York,” Mr. Trump said at the White House in July, promising to end the rule. And there certainly have been high-profile fair-housing fights in the county just to the north of New York City.

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