Trump calls for contest to create futuristic ‘Freedom Cities’
Modern cities and flying cars might sound like the makings of an episode of the 1960s cartoon The Jetsons, where a fictionalized family flew around in Orbit City.
For former President Donald Trump, however, it’s the foundation of a new set of futuristic policy proposals.
In a video set to be released on Friday, Trump will call for a “quantum leap” in the American standard of living.
Trump’s plan, shared in advance with POLITICO, calls for holding a contest to design and create up to ten new “Freedom Cities,” built from the ground up on federal land. It proposes an investment in the development of vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicles; the creation of “hives of industry” sparked by cutting off imports from China; and a population surge sparked by “baby bonuses” to encourage would-be-parents to get on with procreation. It is all, his team says, part of a larger nationwide beautification campaign meant to inspire forward-looking visions of America’s future.
“Past generations of Americans pursued big dreams and daring projects that once seemed absolutely impossible. They pushed across an unsettled continent and built new cities in the wild frontier. They transformed American life with the interstate highway system—magnificent it was. And they launched a vast network of satellites into orbit all around the earth,” Trump said in his video.
“But today, our country has lost its boldness. Under my leadership, we will get it back in a very big way. If you look at just three years ago, what we were doing was unthinkable, how good it was, how great it was for our country. Our objective will be a quantum leap in the American standard of living,” Trump said.
Trump campaign advisers acknowledge the new set of plans are out of the ordinary. But they note he’s made other eye-popping proposals before — like purchasing Greenland from Denmark. They offered analogies to Abraham Lincoln’s campaign for the transcontinental railroad, Teddy Roosevelt’s vision for a national park service, and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System.
A former celebrity real estate developer and TV personality, Trump has a long history of outlining audacious new initiatives that are heavy on imagery and light on details. The latest offerings come with a few explanations for how they will be executed.
Trump says he would host a contest for the public to design and then build “Freedom Cities” on a small portion of federal land to “reopen the frontier, reignite American imagination, and give hundreds of thousands of young people and other people, all hardworking families, a new shot at home ownership and in fact, the American Dream.”
Trump’s call for investments in vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicles, which he says could transform transportation and connect rural and urban America, is part of a “major initiative” focused on lowering the cost of a new car and creating new transportation methods. It comes as companies like Boeing and Honda are currently spending billions to develop and test electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles that operate like giant drones for humans.
“Just as the United States led the automotive revolution in the last century, I want to ensure that America, not China, leads this revolution in air mobility,” Trump said in the video.
As for “baby bonuses” to encourage the next baby boom and tackle America’s slowing birth rate, Trump appears to be (knowingly or not) borrowing a page from others, like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). During the 2020 campaign, the New Jersey Democrat proposed “baby bonds,” which would set aside funds in a savings account for every child in America.
Trump’s advisers concede that the set of proposals put out on Friday are broad brushstrokes. But they also insist that they aren’t moonshot either.
While in the White House, Trump proposed some similar ideas, like his executive order on “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture,” that called for making classical architecture the standard for all federal buildings. It was panned by critics who said it discouraged modern ideas in design. It was ultimately revoked by President Joe Biden. Trump also called for a “Garden of American Heroes” in an executive order that would feature statues of major figures from American politics, art, science, and sports ranging from Harriet Tubman to Babe Ruth. Biden also revoked that order.
Trump’s “quantum leap” proposals are part of a series of policy videos he has rolled out since launching his campaign for president. Other videos have focused on issues like border security and education.
Earlier this week, Trump introduced his 2024 trade policy that would “tax China to build up America” and create a system that “rewards domestic production and taxes foreign companies and those who export American jobs.”
Trump is set to deliver a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C. on Saturday, and he is expected to talk about some of his recent policy proposals.
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