Trump on ABC News town hall: Trump responds to question on US's racial inequalities

The president responded to a question about income inequality, unemployment rates and COVID-19 within the African American community. "There was going to be unity. But unfortunately, that was hurt."
5:08 | 09/16/20

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Transcript for Trump on ABC News town hall: Trump responds to question on US's racial inequalities
We have another question on this subject from pastor Carl day from Philadelphia, voted for Jill stein last time. How you doing, Mr. President? Good. You've coined the phrase make America great again. When has America been great for African-Americans in the ghetto of America? Are you aware of how tone-deaf that comes off to African-American communities? Well, I can say this. We have tremendous African-American support. You probably have seen it in the polls. We're doing extremely well with African-American, hispanic-american, at levels that you've rarely seen a Republican have. If you talk about make America great, if you look at just prior to -- and I'm talking about for the black community, you look just prior to this horrible situation coming in from China, when the virus came in, that was probably the highest point, home ownership for the black community, home ownership, lower crime, the best jobs they've ever had, highest income, the best enmroim numbers they've ever had. If you want to look over many years, you could just go back six or seven months from now, that was the best single moment in the history of the African-American people in this country, I think, you know, I would say. I mean, your statement is make it great again. So, historically, the African-American experience, especially in these ghettos that have been red lined, historically these ghettos that have systemically been set up and treated they have been, the conditions of the drugs, the guns and everything else that actually created the symptoms for what we see, that you profess to just be democratic cities themselves, these things have historically been happening for African-Americans in these ghettos and we have not been seeing a change. Quite frankly, under your administration, under Obama's administration, under bush, under Clinton, the very same things happen, the cycle continues to ensue and we need to see -- because you say again, we need to see when was that great? Because that pushes us back to a time in which we cannot identify with such greatness and, I mean, you've said everything else about choking and everything else, but you have yet to address and acknowledge that there's been a race problem in America. Okay, so, if you go -- well, I hope there's not a race problem. I can tell you, there's none with me, because I have great respect for all races, for everybody. This country is great because of but when you go back six months and you take a look at what was happening, you can't even compare that with past administrations. When you look at income levels and a lot of things, because of the job situation, where they had the lowest income, the best unemployment numbers they've ever had, the black community, by far. And that was solving a lot of problems and it was bringing people together. I was starting to get, just before this was, you know, we were having a long run of success, I was starting to get calls from Democrats that, hey, it's starting to work, let's get together. People that you would never have thought this would have happened there was going to be unity. But unfortunately, that was hurt because we got set back. But now, I think next year's going to be one of our best year's economies. In the big major cities where African-Americans are underserved, under resourced, that's an $8 an hour job. They can't afford to live where they have to live or where they've been living at for the last 20 years. Well, the income inequality, I agree with you that is a problem, but if you look under president Obama and Biden, the income inequality was phenomenal, it was record-setting, it was -- It's getting worse now. Well, we're talking about a plague coming in. Before the plague, we were doing very well. Now we will soon be doing well again, because we're going to have a fantastic third quarter. You're seeing the numbers come in. I think you're going to have a gdp that's mid 20s and maybe much higher, somebody said 35, I don't know, that would -- these are all records we're talking about. And you can have a very good economically, a very good year next year, but I agree with a lot of the things you say, but you have to look back, because we really had it going well. Had we not been hit by this horrible disease that came into our land and all over the world, by the way, came all over the world, we would be in a position where, I think, income inequality would be different, it was really getting there. We were really driving it down. Mr. President, we have to move on, but before the pandemic, the average black family was earning half of what the average white family was earning. Even if you hold education constant. I can only compare it to the the African-American, the black community, was doing better than it had ever done by far. Both in terms of unemployment, home ownership, so many different statistics. There was still a gap between blacks and whites. There was a gap, but we were doing a good job. It was getting better. And then it was artificially shut down by this disease that came onto our land.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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