To kick off Black History Month in the US President Donald Trump gave a speech at a listening session organised by his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson. The president took the opportunity to target CNN along with "fake news," and talk about his share of the vote among African Americans.
"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," Trump said during the meeting held in the Roosevelt room of the White House. "The statue is cherished. It's one of the favourite things — and we have some good ones."
Trump said that the story African Americans is one of "unimaginable sacrifice, hard work, and faith in America" and that during the 2016 election Carson had taken him to "a lot of places that I wasn't so familiar with."
Trump praised the fact that the National Mall is home to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where people can learn about King, and "so many other things."
These included Frederick Douglass, "an example of somebody who's done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice," Trump said. Douglass, a slave and central figure of the abolitionist movement, taught himself how to read and write and eventually escaped to freedom where he became a prolific writer, speaker, and activist.
The president also mentioned "Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made Americans what it is today," saying they had a "big impact."
His talk then turned to all of his black supporters in the room and the fact that Republican political commentator Paris Dennard often appears on CNN. "I don't watch CNN, so I don't get to see you as much," Trump told him. "I don't like watching fake news. But Fox has treated me very nice, wherever Fox is, thank you."
Returning to the subject of African Americans in the US Trump emphasised how Carson is going to work on inner cities "big league" and that his administration will provide "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," Trump said.
"If you remember, I wasn't going to do well with the African American community," the president continued, "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."
During his "Thank You" tour across the US on 15 December 2016 Trump urged his supporters in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to cheer for African Americans who didn't show up at the polls to vote for Hillary Clinton, who got 88% of the black vote.
Exit polls immediately after the election showed black voters didn't come out to vote for Trump either, giving him just 8% of the African American vote to President Barack Obama who got 93% in 2012.