Donald Trump's Black History Month speech

Donald Trump uses Black History Month speech to attack CNN and boast about his popularity

President delivers address to African-Americans at White House

Tom Embury-Dennis@tomemburyd
Wednesday 01 February 2017 22:15
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Donald Trump used a speech marking Black History Month to boast about his popularity and accuse US news outlets of being "fake news".

Delivering his address to a group of African-Americans at the White House, Mr Trump briefly praised civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, before going on to attack a story falsely claiming he had removed Mr King’s bust from the Oval Office.

“You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office,” he said. “And it turned out that that was fake news.”

“So I think it was a disgrace, but that's the way the press is,” he added.

The billionaire honoured Frederick Douglass, a 19th Century African American who fought for the abolition of slavery after escaping from a plantation in Maryland.

Mr Trump said the social reformer, writer and orator who died in 1895, as “somebody who’s done an amazing job that is being recognised more and more”.

He also praised the “big impact” of abolotionist Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks, known as "the first lady of civil rights", whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white person prompted nationwide civil disobedience in 1955.

But then Mr Trump moved on to tell his audience he did not watch “fake news” on CNN.

"I don't watch CNN, so I don't get to see you as much," he said. "I don't like watching fake news. But Fox has treated me very nice, wherever Fox is, thank you."

Echoing his campaign speeches, Mr Trump focused on how he would improve the “inner city”, announcing he intended to improve schools and make communities safer “with law enforcement”.

Despite picking up eight per cent of the black vote to Hillary Clinton’s 89 per cent, the President claimed he was extremely popular with African Americans.

“If you remember, I wasn't going to do well with the African-American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting, I won't go into details, but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years,” he said.

Read Mr Trump's speech in full:

Well the election, it came out really well. Next time we'll triple the number or quadruple it. We want to get it over Si, right. At least 51.

Well, this is black history month, so this is our little breakfast, our little get-together. And just a few notes. During this month, we honour the tremendous history of the African-Americans throughout our country. Throughout the world, if you really think about it, right. And their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work, and faith in America. I've gotten a real glimpse during the campaign; I'd go around with Ben to a lot of places that I wasn't so familiar with. They're incredible people. And I want to thank Ben Carson, who's going to be heading up HUD, and it's a big job, and it's a job that's not only housing, it's mind and spirit, right? And you understand that. Nobody's going to be better than Ben.

Last month we celebrated the life of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. And it turned out that that was fake news. The statue is cherished. It's one of the favourite things — and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King. And we have other. But they said the statue, the bust, of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that's the way the press is. It's very unfortunate.

I am very proud now that we have a museum, National Mall, where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things, Frederick Doug — Douglass is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made Americans what it is today. Big impact. I'm proud to honour this heritage and will be honouring it more and more.

Folks at the table, in almost all cases, have been great friends and supporters. And Darrell, I met Darrel when he was defending me on television. And the people that were on the other side of the argument didn't have a chance, right. And Paris has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community; he's all by himself. Seven people and Paris. I'll take Paris over the seven. But I don't watch CNN, so I don't get to see you as much. I don't like watching fake news. But Fox has treated me very nice, wherever Fox is, thank you. We're going to need better schools, and we need 'em soon. We need more jobs, we need better wages, a lot better wages. We're going to work very hard on the inner city. Ben's going to be doing that, big league, that's one of his big things that we're going to be looking at. We need safer communities and we're going to do that with law enforcement. We're going to make it safe. We're going to make it much better than it is right now. Right now it's terrible.

I saw you talking about it the other night, Paris, on something else that was really — you did a fantastic job the other night on a very unrelated show. I'm ready to do my part, and I will say this, we're going to work together. This is a great group, this is a group that's been so special to me, you really helped me a lot. If you remember, I wasn't going to do well with the African-American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting, I won't go into details, but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years. And now we're going to take that to new levels. I want to thank my television star over here — Omarosa's actually a very nice person. Nobody knows that. I don't want to destroy her reputation. She is a very good person and she's been helpful right from the beginning with the campaign and I appreciate it, I really do. Very special. So I want to thank everybody for being here.

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