During his news conference on Thursday, President Trump was asked to respond to the increase in anti-Semitic violence that’s taken place throughout the country the country since his election.
Trump responded by claiming he’s “the least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life” in addition to being “the least racist person.”
Trump: "Number one, I am the least anti-semitic person you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person" pic.twitter.com/UIvDRHZvjB
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 16, 2017
Less than 10 minutes later, a black reporter named April Ryan asked Trump about his “fix the inner cities” campaign platform and how he specifically plans to do that.
In response, Trump recited some of his familiar talking points about crime (“You go to some inner city places and it’s so sad when you look at the crime”) and how dangerous parts of Chicago are (“worse than almost any of the places in the Middle East”).
Ryan followed up, asking Trump whether he’s “going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations [about] your urban agenda, your inner city agenda.”
Trump initially didn’t seem to understand that by “CBC,” Ryan was referring to the Congressional Black Caucus. But after Ryan clarified, he asked her to set up a meeting with black members of Congress for him.
“Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours? Set up the meeting,” Trump said. “Let’s go — set up a meeting. I would love to meet with the black caucus.”
“No no no, I’m just a reporter,” Ryan replied.
Trump went on to claim that a member of the CBC — Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) — had backed out of a scheduled meeting with him. A short time after the press conference ended, Cummings released a statement claiming that Trump made up the story.
“I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today,” Cummings wrote. “I also sincerely have no idea why the President made this claim in response to an unrelated question about the Congressional Black Caucus. I am sure members of the CBC can answer these questions for themselves.”
The CBC responded as well:
— CBC (@OfficialCBC) February 16, 2017
Trump never did denounce the rise in anti-Semitism that’s taken place since his victory, marking the second straight day he passed on an easy opportunity to do so.