President Trump defended his administration’s policies for blacks on Wednesday amid his plunging job-approval ratings since the death of George Floyd in an encounter with police in Minneapolis.
In a meeting with several black leaders in the Cabinet room, Mr. Trump cited his administration’s achievements, including historic funding increases for black colleges and universities, criminal-justice reform in 2018 and the creation of “opportunity zones” to encourage investment in distressed communities.
“We’ve done a lot for the black community and we’ve done a lot for all communities,” the president told reporters summoned to the unscheduled meeting.
Two new polls Wednesday showed the president’s job-approval rating falling below 40%, with much of the decline attributed to his handling of demonstrations over the killing of Mr. Floyd.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, the only black in the president’s Cabinet, said the meeting was called “to talk about some of the concerns in the black community that have arisen to a point that people all around the world are making their voices heard.”
“Your philosophy, of course, has been that a rising tide floats all boats,” Mr. Carson told the president. “That’s why you don’t spend a lot of time with identity politics. We want everybody to be successful.”
Sonnie Johnson, a radio host on Sirius XM, said the black community “is not doing OK” on issues such as education because of decades of local control by Democrats.
“All of these things have been under Democratic control for 60 years,” she told the president. “The only choice we get is ‘left’ or ‘further-left.’”
Pastor Darrell Scott of Cleveland told the president, “Our nation is at a juncture where we’re facing another challenge, but this administration has become used to challenges. We pressed ‘pause,’ but we’re ready to press ‘play’ now and continue in the positive initiatives regarding the black community.”
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