WASHINGTON – Saying the Black Lives Matter movement “means a lot to me,” President Donald Trump praised Monday that he has done more for African Americans than anyone else in history except for Abraham Lincoln – and that the black community is “very thankful for it. “
In a one-to-one interview with Spectrum News, Trump rattled out a series of achievements that he said were largely overlooked by the news media.
“No one has done more for African Americans than me: criminal justice reform, areas of opportunity, historically black – if you look at the size of the university, big or small; the size of the college, large or small. I’ve done things no one else has ever done for them, ”the president told Spectrum News Washington correspondent Jeevan Vittal outside the White House. “And frankly, they are very grateful for it.”
“Criminal justice reform, prison reform, what we’ve done, no one has done, no one has done for the African American community what President Trump has done – except Abraham Lincoln,” said Trump, targeting and referring in third to his predecessor who issued the emancipation proclamation that freed slaves in the Southern states.
Trump said of the phrase “Black Lives Matter”: “It means a lot to me and civil rights mean a lot to me.”
The president did not address police brutality or the death of African Americans in custody. He also did not refer to the protests of Black Lives Matters that gripped the country after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
The president spoke to Vittal at a campaign meeting he held on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a state experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases.
Trump praised a strengthening economy under his control amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying it was his actions that killed millions.
“We had the best job numbers in our history. We’ll be back very soon, ” he said, predicting a “great” third quarter and “phenomenal” 2021.
“We have built the largest economy in history,” said the President, adding because of the COVID-19 crisis, “We have disabled it and what we are doing now is rebuilding it.”
Trump squarely blamed the pandemic on China’s feet.
“It was from China and it was horrible,” he said. “I think we all look at how that happened. Because it was a shame. It could have been stopped. It could have been stopped in China.”
Trump was also asked about the six members of his team preparing for the rally who tested positive for COVID-19. He said that they were a small number from a large advisory team, that they came from all over the country and that they had been quarantined.
The president has sworn that a coronavirus vaccine will be released soon.
Trump said his government’s response has saved millions of lives, but he warned that the number of coronavirus deaths in the country could reach about 150,000.