Amid ongoing protests across the country following the murder of George Floyd, President Donald Trump held a roundtable meeting on Thursday to discuss ‘justice disparities’ in the USA. The roundtable included faith leaders, law enforcement representatives, small business owners and senior members of the Trump administration and bore witness to discussions of race, policing and politics.
President Trump was keen to warn against labeling “tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots” and insisted that ‘Americans are good and virtuous people’. Even though the President sympathized with ‘peaceful protestors’, he lauded police forces and their treatment of the protests, instead of criticizing or speaking on police violence against black people.
Trump has previously angered with his comments about the protests across the country, repeatedly labeling participants ‘thugs’, as well as threatening to deploy the military in order to ‘dominate’ looters.
“We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear, but will make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots,” President Trump said at the roundtable.
“We have so many different elements of strength in this country, we have such potential in this country, we have the greatest potential,” he said. “But we get off-subject and we start thinking about things that don’t matter or don’t matter much. The important things, we don’t even discuss but we are here to discuss very important things today.”
Trump and his staff have also been criticized for failing to invite the region’s police chief, sheriff and district attorney – all of whom are black. Glenn Heights is south of Dallas with a population of around 16,000 people and its Police Chief Vernell E. Dooley, who is African American, was invited.
The President is due to attend a joint fundraising committee dinner at a private residence after the roundtable, which CNN report will bring in over $10 million for Trump Victory, Trump’s presidential election fund committee that also benefits the Republican National Committee and 22 state parties.
Couples have had to shell out over half a million dollars to attend the event, which is being hosted at a private home in Dallas. 25 people are expected to attend Trump’s first in-person fundraising event since the outbreak of the pandemic, with a similar event being hosted for the President in Bedminster, New Jersey at the weekend.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s tally of cases in the US, there have been more than 80,000 identified coronavirus cases in Texas as of June 10 and more than 1,900 have died from the virus. Despite this, audience members at the roundtable were sat side-by-side and many were seen to not be wearing masks.
“I think that the economy next year will be maybe the best it’s ever been. You can already see it with the stock market, how it’s been going up because you have a lot of smart people that are betting on exactly what I’m saying,” the President said at the start of the roundtable.
“The stock market is almost as high as it was prior to the plague floating in from China. It was a plague that floated in from China. Now they’re learning that it may have been much earlier, which bears out exactly what I’ve been saying. You saw that word yesterday, that it may have come in a lot sooner than we were told.
“You can go down a list of criminal justice reform and all of the things we’ve done.
Opportunity Zones, the best unemployment rate in the history, just before the plague came in and it’s going to be back again soon. I think it’s going to be back again a lot sooner than people think. I think last week was a reflection of that, the job’s numbers,” Trump continued, talking to Raynard Jackson, a Conservative political consultant.
“But you look at all of the things we’ve done. We’ve now worked on prison reform, so important and so many other things. But when you look at the economics, when you look at how well the black community has been doing under this administration, nobody’s done anything like we’ve done. And a big thing is criminal justice reform. I keep hearing about, oh, criminal justice reform and everyone’s trying to take the credit. And that one, I will say, we will take the full credit because they couldn’t have done it without us.
“I’m not sure, frankly, that the previous administration tried, they may have, but they certainly couldn’t get it done. And the people that came into my office really, really asking very nicely for help. These are not people that are supporters of mine, but once we got it, they took the full credit for themselves and that’s okay too. But we got done criminal justice reform and all of the other things. I think that one of the elements that people aren’t talking about are the Opportunity Zones that we did with a great senator.”