Jun 10, 2020
Donald Trump Roundtable Transcript on Race & Policing with African American Leaders
Donald Trump held a June 10 meeting with black leaders to talk about race & policing in America. He also announced he’ll be having a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma Friday. Read the full transcript of the roundtable here.
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Donald Trump: (00:00)
… at that point, it’s been an amazing thing to behold and we’re going to be starting our rallies. The first one we believe will be probably we’re just starting to call up, will be in Oklahoma, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A beautiful new venue, brand new, and they’re looking forward to it. They’ve done a great job with COVID as you know, in the state of Oklahoma. And we’re going to be coming into Florida, do a big one in Florida, a big one in Texas, they’re all going to be big. We’re going to Arizona. We’re going to North Carolina at the appropriate time. The governor’s a little backward there, he’s a little bit behind. And unfortunately we’re going to probably be having no choice but to move the Republican convention to another location. That’ll be announced shortly, but we’ll have no choice. We wanted to stay in North Carolina very badly. We love it, it’s a great state. A state I won.
Donald Trump: (00:52)
Many, many friends, many relatives, frankly, that live there. And we’ll see how it all works out. But the governor doesn’t want to give an inch. And what he’s doing is losing hundreds of millions of dollars for his state, but we’ll probably have no other recourse but to move it to another state. We have a lot of states that want it, Texas, Georgia, Florida. There are many, many states that want it. But we’ve given them everything we can, North Carolina, special place. But I think we’re going to probably end up giving you an announcement pretty soon. We are doing well in so many ways. You see what’s going on with NASDAQ. We just broke another record yesterday. Some good news came out of the federal reserve today. I think some very good news. We’re really doing a financial comeback, the job’s numbers were fantastic.
Donald Trump: (01:45)
Now we’ll have some other job numbers come up over the next few weeks and we’ll see how that goes. But I think it’s really good and we’re on our way to a very big comeback. I’d like to ask some of the folks that I’m with today to say a few words. They’ve been really supporters and friends of mine. They understand life. They understand I think the black community better than anybody I know. And I will tell you, Ben Carson is an example of exactly what I’m talking about. He’s been my friend from the first day we met, I think, and we met, we were opponents, but we were never really opponents. Ben is a very exceptional guy. He’s done a fantastic job at HUD, but I’d like to maybe start with Ben to say a couple of words and go to Darrell. And the rest of us, let’s say a few words to the press. So if you would please, Ben.
Ben Carson: (02:34)
Thank you, Mr. President. We’re here obviously to talk about some of the concerns of the black community, that have risen to a point that people all around the world are making their voices heard. This is an opportune time to do something about it because this administration has already established a record of actually solving problems. Problems that other people just talk about and have talked about for many years. And I am delighted Mr. President, that you have made it a priority to solve this problem. And we’re all going to be helping with that process. There are many others out there, people of good will, there’s some who just wait for anything to criticize it. But there are actually some people who actually want to see a solution. And I’ve had a chance to talk to many of them, will continue to do that, put forth the kinds of programs that actually get people out of poverty, not things that just keep people stable in poverty and happy in poverty.
Ben Carson: (03:48)
We want to change that whole dynamic. And I think some of the things that have already been done, we will get back to those quickly. This was an intentional stopping of the economy, of an amazing economy. The fundamentals of that economy are still in place. We will recoup that and we will move further on. And your philosophy of course, has been that a rising tide floats all boats. And that’s why you don’t spend a lot of time with identity politics. We want everybody to be successful.
Donald Trump: (04:22)
Ben Carson: (04:23)
And we’re going to do everything we can to help you do that.
Donald Trump: (04:25)
Well, as I’ve been saying, Ben, 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 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. A friend of mine is Darrell Scott, and he’s a great guy and he’s got a tremendous heart. At the same time, he’s a tough cookie. I think that’s what maybe attracted me to him. Unfortunately, I didn’t get attracted to the good parts, but that’s a good part too. Darrell, say a few words please.
Darrell Scott: (05:15)
We’re here today and thank you, Mr. President for allowing us to come. Our nation is at a juncture where we’re facing another challenge, but this administration has become used to challenges. It’s been one challenge after another and we’ve pressed pause, but we’re waiting to press play now and continue in the positive initiatives regarding the black community. Now, Mr. Trump called me in November of 2016, right after the election, right after he won. And he said to me, “What do you want? And I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, I mean, you’ve been working real hard. Isn’t anything that you want?” And I said, “I want to be a liaison from the black community to the Trump administration and the liaison to the black community from the Trump administration.”
Darrell Scott: (06:00)
Since then, we’ve worked on criminal justice reform. We’ve worked on urban revitalization, prison reform, HBCUs, a number of initiatives that are pro-active towards the black community. And here we are now, and we could be facing another challenge and we’re going to come up with some great solutions to these problems that are confronting this country. And I’m just glad to have a seat at the table and to have my input received.
Donald Trump: (06:26)
Well, your input’s been very important, Darrell, you know that.
Darrell Scott: (06:28)
Donald Trump: (06:29)
And it is true and I’ve known Darrell a long time. He didn’t want anything. What he wanted was just to have a voice so he can make certain positions known. And he’s done that very well, better than anybody I can think of. Another great voice in the black community is Wayne. Wayne, you’ve been my friend for a long time. Wayne Dupree, his show is a phenomena. It’s a great success and people listen and they respect what you have to say. Go ahead, please.
Wayne Dupree: (06:57)
Well, my name is Wayne Dupree. I met President Trump when he was a businessman. As a matter of fact, he’s given me five interviews, two of them in person, three on the phone. And when you’re talking about somebody who is not with the mainstream media, somebody who just has a small voice, but has a desire to make changes with his voice, to reach out to a billionaire in New York and without hesitation, he gave me those interviews. And I think he’s a natural leader. And I mean, honestly, I have supported him ever since he decided to run for president. As a matter of fact, we interviewed him the month before he came down the escalator and he said, “Well, Wayne, we’re going to have a big announcement next month.” And I said, “Well, you can do it here on the show if you really want to.”
Wayne Dupree: (08:04)
But I mean, I’m glad that he has changed things here in D.C. But my daughters and my son and my family, they want to see a lot more positive things coming from the White House. They want to see your leadership and they also want to see things change for the better in this country. I know you can do it. I know you can do it.
Donald Trump: (08:32)
We’ll do it. We’ll do it, Wayne. Go ahead, please.
Raynard Jackson: (08:35)
My name is Raynard Jackson. Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you Darrell for inviting us to this round table here. I’m from St. Louis originally, live here in Virginia. But what I like to say to you Mr. President is kind of off the beaten path. I like to say to all the media assembled here, that I wish they would quit lying about what you’ve done specifically for the black community. So you got radical liberal journalists like Joy Reid from MSNBC, Don Lemon from CNN, Roland Martin, who are putting more poison into the black community than any drug dealer, who are killing more black folks that any white person with a sheet over their face. How they doing it? Spreading lies about the economy you have Mr. President before the virus was a continuation of Obama. That’s factually not true.
Raynard Jackson: (09:26)
I have a degree in accounting. I keep up with the economy. They’re lying. So to all of these folks on MSNBC, CNN, Roland Martin, what are you afraid to have real black Republicans who know what the hell they’re talking about? If you want to know the truth, if you want us to dissect the Obama economy, let’s do it. And I think Mr. President, your record would win the debate. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (09:48)
Thank you very much. It’s interesting that you say that, but you 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. 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.
Donald Trump: (10:38)
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, your friend from South Carolina, right? We did it with Tim and it was his idea and it was a big idea. It was a bold idea and it’s worked much better than … In our wildest dreams we couldn’t have thought that that was going to happen. So we did many, many things that we’re going to continue to do many things.
Donald Trump: (11:27)
One of the elements that I talk about is, and I was telling this to Darrell before, that 42, 44 people would come to see me every year. The heads of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. And they would come up here and I got to actually know them. And the first year they came, I thought it was a normal meeting. They were asking for a lot of money, which they were having a hard time getting from previous administrations. And we got it for them. The next year, they came back. I said, “Oh, what are you guys back for?” He said, “Well, we want the money again.” I said, “Aren’t we working a longterm deals? No, we’ve got the money.” And then the third time I said, “I see, you’ve come.” So they made you for years, many years, for decades, they had to come back, keep coming back, keep coming back.
Donald Trump: (12:17)
Not like a lot of others where they get it. And they kept coming back and asking for money. And I said, “What’s this all about, why do you have to come every year? Why don’t we make a longer term deal?” And we made, I think, a 10 year deal and they’re all funded up and they’re all set. And that’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and they play a tremendous function. I got to be friendly with some of them. I won’t tell you what some of them said, how bad it was about the past administration and past administrations. But they were treated very, very badly. And I treated them very good. So they don’t have to come back.
Donald Trump: (12:50)
I said, the only bad thing is I won’t see you people anymore, maybe for a long time. And they were okay with that. Now they can focus on what they really do, which is education. So we’ve done a lot for the black community and we’ve done a lot for all communities. And it’s a great honor to have you folks with us and thank you very much. Did you have anything to say by the way? Fellas? [crosstalk 00:13:12] Please go ahead.
Sonnie Johnson: (13:13)
So my name is Sonnie Johnson. I’m the host of Sonnie’s Corner. I’m probably the most Trumpish out of everybody in this room. So you got to have to forgive me. The black community is not doing okay. Like I understand the perspective and the desire to put out this talking point, but it’s not, okay. And I can do it in a simplistic way of just saying, what are the first things you did when you first came into the presidency? The very first things you did was like remove regulation and taxation at high levels. Think about the black community that has been under democratic rule, progressive rule for 60 years. How many rules, how many regulations, how many different forms of taxation are on the books in those areas that are preventing our communities from actually being able to see sustainable growth that we can keep and get ourselves out of this trend of generational poverty.
Sonnie Johnson: (14:06)
We are not okay when it comes to things like education. Because we are not able to get quality choice into our communities because we don’t have any position or power on our school boards to be able to fight for those things and not just to get charters in, but to also bring some kind of reformation to the public school system as it stands too. So, yes, as well as criminal justice reform and a lot of other things, as well as health and things we could put down the list, all of these things have been under democratic control for 60 years. And they are not going to change until we have a Republican Party that is willing to go into these communities and actually offer a choice to these people about how we can do things differently.
Sonnie Johnson: (14:48)
Because the way it is structured now, the only choice that we get is left or either further left, and we’re not getting the opportunity to actually vote on what we look at as conservatism equally applied. The very basic economic principles that we on the right say are significant in our success and seeing the success in our country, those are not being offered at the local level in black communities. So basically we’re asking to grow out of concrete because we don’t have the fertile soil in these areas to make everything flourish and bloom the way my generation would like to see it. So I think the numbers and statistics about my generation are not going to be out for 20 years. You’re not going to see that we have started to change the dynamic within families. We have started to change the dynamic within marriage. We have started to change a lot of the negative dynamics that are still brought up in statistics today involving us.
Sonnie Johnson: (15:44)
Our generation is working on making sure those things change. And nobody looks at us and sees the power we have to be effective in making change this generation and not just waiting for the next layer of statistics to come out. So until we can actually get a honest dialogue on the right out into the ether, then you’re going to keep on having the fake news media spread lies because we aren’t there giving another choice as to how these things could be done. And it’s going to continue to go left if we aren’t there given an option to make it go right. And that’s like the biggest thing that we were having trouble with on the right is understanding how government works. We are a republic that means local government has the most power over citizens lives, as well as how to take that and put it into a cohesive message that can be spread to the black community that will already engage upon what we already know.
Sonnie Johnson: (16:46)
If we looked at like the photos of you before you became president and you were taking pictures with Snoop and you were taking pictures with all the icons of hip-hop. You did that, I think, and you can tell me if I’m wrong, but you did that because you saw a capitalist, you saw branders, you saw entrepreneurs, you saw people that were willing to take a chance and make things grow. That is us. That is the black community. And I would like to see a challenge from you to see how many in a black community can put their names on the side of a building coming out of this. If we’re really going to reshape and reform the way that we do this. Issue that challenge because that’s what we need more now than ever. And we need to be focused and centric on the black community, not into letting people come in and gentrify areas that are traditionally ours.
Donald Trump: (17:37)
And you don’t need closed police departments.
Raynard Jackson: (17:40)
No, no, we need the police. But if you take and look at what happened in Ferguson, because Ferguson is like where black lives matter really came out. I ain’t going to say it was born because people will fight about that. But if you go back and you look at Ferguson, the DOJ did a report on Ferguson. And what came out of that report was that the mayor’s office was using the police force as a taxation unit. So they were forcing interactions between police and the citizens, as a way for them to raise money and bring money into the mayor’s office. That was causing over policing. So it is not the fault of the police nor is the fault of the citizenry what the legislator and the executive branches of city government are putting into legislative practice.
Donald Trump: (18:26)
Very good, well stated. Wayne, what do you think? Good job?
Wayne Dupree: (18:33)
Very good job.
Donald Trump: (18:33)
Good job. Thank you, thank you, Sonnie, I appreciate it.
Speaker 7: (18:35)
It’s a great job.
Donald Trump: (18:36)
Fellas, go ahead.
Speaker 7: (18:37)
Well, she said a lot of it. I don’t know if I can say it any better than that. But just that a lot of these things are systemic. I think what we’ve done through your leadership is start to break down that system and fight back. Opportunity Zones, HBCUs, criminal justice reform. Those are reversing some systemic issues. And through your leadership now we’re looking at other layers of that because we just saw what COVID shined a spotlight on access to capital. It shined spotlight on health disparities. And then recently with the protest, how can we create better police and community relations? But one thing we’ve done over the last couple of weeks is listen to individuals. And now we have solutions and those are things we want to continue to work through as an administration, because it’s about results. And I think a lot of people are leaning on you because you’re result oriented. It’s not about just us talking here. It’s about what we’re going to produce out of this meeting.
Wayne Dupree: (19:32)
And you know what, that’s the thing. A lot of people that listen to the show, are calling on the show, they want to see those results. If you go into the black community and you tell people type of statistics, oh okay, yeah, great. But if you show a ground-moving, ground-shaking, things growing up from the bottom, those Opportunity Zones are more jobs than what they are right now. But if you start showing those things and a little friendly drive through, “Hey, President Trump here.” Believe me, there are many people that are on these online boards. And like I said, the call-ins and whatnot, they do support President Trump. They know what happened in the Obama administration. They know what you’re doing, but they also see what the media is doing to you. So don’t think that you are alone. It’s just that they need to hear more from you.
Donald Trump: (20:33)
I agree with that, that’s true. It’s the only way you get through the media because the media is almost 100% negative, it’s incredible.
Sonnie Johnson: (20:40)
That’s not the only thing that’s impeding the progress of the legislation that you put out. So let’s take Opportunity Zones. If the Opportunity Zones pass from a federal level, they then go down to the state and then are allocated on local level. So for us as black people to actually access the Opportunity Zones, I have to go talk to Democrats and I have to be willing to do what they want to do under their agenda, how they want it done for me to be able to have access to the Opportunity Zone funds. So that’s where, when you see in our communities, instead of getting young blacks to invest and become entrepreneurs and become owners, you’re getting gentrification. Because outside forces with more money and connections to these Democrats are able to come in and get this money a lot faster than the black people, that it was actually intended to help.
Sonnie Johnson: (21:33)
And so you’re seeing this changing of our community, where at no point in time are we allowed in the process to become a part of it and maybe be the innovators of what the future could look like. Because that is what you really have coming out of the black community, a desire to be an innovating force about what our communities look like in the future. Where we have been handed policy, or we have been handed government for so long and that even now have a population that says, we want to use the government as a Republic, localized government to reinvent what our communities look like. And yes, it will include police. It’ll include schools. It’ll include all of the necessity of civilization, but it’ll also include more investment ownership and entrepreneurship from the citizens in those communities.
Ben Carson: (22:25)
You’ll be happy to know that this administration has recognized that problem, the community development, financial institutions, the credit unions, the local banks have been excluded from a lot of the dissemination of the funds previously. That’s been recognized, in the process of being corrected right now.
Sonnie Johnson: (22:45)
You got to go a long way.
Donald Trump: (22:45)
Kareem Lanier: (22:49)
Mr. President, you’ve been nothing short of historic for black America. I don’t say that because I have to, because I can say whatever I want to say as a free citizen here in the U.S. You’ve been nothing short of historical. Criminal justice reform was historical. We were getting locked up at unprecedented rates. You undid the 1994 crime bill and we are forever thankful for that. Even the Opportunity Zones, we can be critical of a lot of things, but the Opportunity Zones incentivize the people that have money to put the money where we need it most, which are in these urban and rural neighborhoods. HBCUs, the whole bit. I could go down thing after thing. The current issue that we’re having right now is police reform, which is so much needed. We did criminal justice reform, but police reform is the gateway to what we see as an unjust criminal justice system sometimes. Meaning if a crooked cop doesn’t do a terrible corrupt thing with an individual, we never get into that bad system.
Kareem Lanier: (23:50)
This administration has been marked by a crooked cop like James Comey and others going after you and creating things that just were not there. The impeachment was … it’s not real, but they can do that. And our community has been affected by that in a way that it’s hard to explain. I tell people this all the time, this whole situation with this policing, it’s not new to black people. We’ve been used to it. As a kid I got harassed by the police all the time and I was a good … I think I was a good kid. But it’s a part of our community. And so we do need some things to happen on the police reform side, which will connect with the great things we’ve already done historically with criminal justice reform.
Kareem Lanier: (24:36)
And we know that you’re the president to get it done. We know that we need some banking reform so that we can get more access to capital. We do also understand that we need some holistic approaches to create this ecosystem. Voting rights, blacks have to go to get voting rights every 25 years or so now. These are things that are historic and we believe that you are the president to get these things done for the black community. You’ve done some great things for us already and we’re relying on you and we appreciate everything you’ve done, Mr. President. You’ve been amazing.
Donald Trump: (25:05)
Thank you very much.
Kareem Lanier: (25:06)
Donald Trump: (25:09)
That was beautiful. Well said. Your friend, right?
Darrell Scott: (25:10)
Donald Trump: (25:11)
He’s a good man too, for a long time we’ve known him. Okay, thank you all very much. We’ll see you tomorrow. We’ll see you tomorrow in Dallas. [Crosstalk 00:25:18]
Donald Trump: (25:39)
We’re going to a place called Dallas tomorrow. I think it’s going to be a great trip. We’re meeting some very good friends and then we’ll come back tomorrow night. We’re going on a Saturday as you know, to West Point. We’re giving the commencement address, which will be very exciting. The cadets wanted that very much. So we’re going to have them a little bit separated, a little social distancing, but we have the full class at West Point. And it was postponed because of the problem, was supposed to be a month ago and we’re going to do it and that’ll be on Saturday. So that’ll be very exciting. And I think a lot of you are going to be with us and we’re going to pay honor really to those incredible students and cadets. And they’re going to be the future military leaders of our country. Thank you all very much. [crosstalk 00:26:18].
Speaker 9: (26:29)
When are you going to Tulsa, sir? [crosstalk 00:26:31]
Donald Trump: (26:33)
Speaker 9: (26:34)
Donald Trump: (26:35)
Speaker 9: (26:36)
Thank you. [crosstalk 00:26:37]