WASHINGTON D.C. - President Donald Trump discussed ways to reduce gun violence and other inner city problems in talks on Wednesday at the White House with African-American officials and public figures, half of them members of his administration.
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Trump said he thought it would be "a great idea" to arrange meet Chicago gang leaders to try and tamp down a wave of violence in the Midwestern city. The idea had been raised by Darrell Scott, a pastor from Ohio, who told the president that some gang leaders were interested in working directly with his White House on the issue.
"They want to work with the administration, they believe in this administration," he said, adding that "they reached out to me because they're associating me with you."
Trump said that "what's happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country." He also said that if local authorities "don't solve the problem, we'll solve it for them."
Last week, in an interview to ABC News, Trump falsely said that two people in Chicago were shot dead during former President Barack Obama's farewell speech in the city – a claim that has been proven wrong by police records, as reported by The Chicago Tribune.
Trump also said at Wednesday's meeting that his administration will work to improve the situation in inner cities across the country.
"We’re going to need better schools, and we need them soon. We need more jobs. We need better wages, much better wages. We're going to work very hard. I’m ready to do my part. I will say this: We’re going to do this together.”
Remarking on African-American history month, which began on Wednesday, Trump said that "during this month, we honor the tremendous history of the African-Americans throughout our country, but the world when you really think about it. Their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work and faith."
He also said that he is proud of the new Smithsonian Museum of African-American history on the National Mall, where "people can learn about Rev. King, some of the other things - Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks. I’m proud to honor this heritage. And we’ll be honoring it more and more.”
Trump used the occasion to repeat some of his regular talking points against the U.S. media. He said “a lot of the media is actually the opposition party. They’re so biased. It’s a disgrace. Some of the media is fantastic and fair. So much of the media is opposition party, knowingly saying incorrect things. It’s a very sad situation."