‘You haven’t acknowledged there’s a race problem in this country’
Trump six months ago said this was ‘the best single moment in the history of the African-American people in this country’
Carl Day, a Philadelphia-based black pastor confronted Donald Trump, telling the president his ‘Make America Great Again’ is ‘tone deaf’
‘Are you aware of how tone deaf that comes off the African American community?’
After Day told Trump that he hadn’t ‘acknowledged there’s a race problem in this country’, Trump replied ‘Well, I hope there’s not a race problem. There’s none with me’
Paul Tubiana from Pittsburgh who said he was conservative and pro-life, a diabetic who’s had to dodge people not wearing masks asked the president : ‘Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus?’
Trump was also pressed on mask-wearing and his coronavirus response with Julie Bart, from Gibsonia, saying: ‘Why don’t you wear a mask more often?’
Trump angrily slammed he Atlantic’s report that said he called American war dead ‘losers’ and ‘suckers’ when asked about the story by Pennsylvania voter Alexandra Stehman
Calling the story ‘lies’ Trump gave new details about the story’s claim that he didn’t want to go to an American cemetery in France because he’d get his hair wet
‘I wanted to go anyway. I said let me just go separately in a car in disguise, I don’t care,’ the president said
Trump continued to complain about the late Sen. John McCain and described former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as a ‘disgruntled employee’ out to get him
Trump blamed the coronavirus crisis for black Americans falling behind and said he had great support among the community, pointing to public opinion polls
Inside a studio set-up for Trump’s town hall with undecided Pennsylvania voters moderated by George Stephanopoulos saw, the president was heard denying race problems in America during the ABC town hall.
A member of the audience confronted President Donald Trump at Tuesday night’s ABC News town hall in Philadelphia telling him that the ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan is ‘tone deaf.’
‘When has America been great for African Americans in the ghetto of America? Are you aware of how tone deaf that comes off the African American community?’ Carl Day asked Trump. Day who is black is a pastor based in the city.
He also pointed out that Trump hadn’t acknowledged America’s race problem, to which the president replied, ‘Well I hope there’s not a race problem.’
‘I can tell you, there’s none with me,’ Trump said.
The town hall, pre-taped in Philadelphia and then broadcast several hours later, had undecided voters pose questions to Trump, with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos there to moderate the Q&A.
Day wanted to hear Democrat Joe Biden’s plans for black America before casting a vote that way.
When Day first called MAGA ‘tone deaf,’ Trump pointed to public opinion polls – which generally show him underwater with black voters compared to Democrat Joe Biden.
‘Well, I can say this, we have tremendous African-American support,’ Trump said. ‘You’ve probably seen it in the polls. We’ve done extremely well with African-American, Hispanic-American at levels that you’ve rarely seen a Republican have.’
The event kicked off with some tough questions for the president.
One voter who identified himself as Paul Tubiana, who said he voted for Trump in 2016 said, ‘I’m a conservative, pro-life and diabetic. I’ve had to dodge people who don’t care about social distancing and wearing face masks,’ he said – after Trump held rallies with mask-less supporters in the West.
‘I thought you were doing a good job with the pandemic response until about May 1st. Then you took your foot off the gas pedal. Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus?’ he asked.
‘Well, we really didn’t, Paul,’ Trump countered.
‘We’ve worked very hard on the pandemic. We’ve worked very hard. It came off from China. They should have never let it happen,’ he said
Moderator George Stephanopoulos challenged Trump on past statements that the virus would ‘go away,’ Trump stuck to his guns, ‘It would go away without the vaccine, George, but it’s going to go away a lot faster with it,’ Trump insisted.
‘It would go away without the vaccine?’ Stephanopoulos pressed.
‘Sure, over a period of time. Sure, with time it goes away,’ Trump responded.
‘And many deaths,’ Stephanopoulos reminded the president.
‘And you’ll develop – you’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality,’ Trump said. ‘It’s going to be – it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen,’ he said.
President Trump reiterated his his claim that a coronavirus vaccine would be ready in three or four weeks.
To date Us has over 6.5 million infections and nearly 200,000 deaths, roughly 25 percent of global infections and fatalities with 4.5 percent of the world’s population. In the facce of no discernable policy to counter the ravages of Covid-19, the president has dangled the panacea that a vaccine would soon be ready for use before the November elections. However, public health officials and pharmaceutical companies alike have warned that an accelerated timeline may fools gold.
Still, at the town hall Trump maintained, ‘We’re very close to having a vaccine,’ he said.
Swinging back to his achievements in comparison to the Obama administration Trump said, ‘If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals. And we’re within weeks of getting it … Could be three weeks, four weeks.’
It was not the first time Trump has claimed that a vaccine is imminent. Last week, he said that one could arrive ‘during the month of October’.
Others have been more reserved with their predictions. US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN earlier this month that a more realistic time-frame would be November or December.
‘It is conceivable that you can have it by October, though I don’t think that that’s likely.’
On the issue of race relations, Trump told pastor Carl Day that if he went back six or seven months ‘that was the best single moment in the history of the African-American people in this country, I think – I would say.’
Day again questioned why Trump would use Make America Great ‘Again,’ and then described the conditions of the ‘ghettos,’ with drugs and guns, which black Americans have historically been red-lined into.
‘And we have not been seeing a change, quite frankly under your administration,’ Day said.
‘Under the Obama administration, under the Bush, under the Clinton, the very same thing happening.’
Day then pointed out that while Trump had talked about police officers ‘choking’, when explaining why unarmed black Americans are being shot at a disproportionate rate by law enforcement, ‘you have yet to address and acknowledge that there’s been a race problem in America.’
Trump said he hoped there wasn’t a race problem ‘because I have great respect for all races, for everybody.’
‘This country is great because of it,’ Trump said, citing recent polls in Florida that show Biden in a slightly weaker position than Hillary Clinton did in 2016 among Latino voters.
‘You look just prior to this horrible situation coming in from China, when the virus came in, that was the – 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 employment numbers they’ve ever had,’ Trump continued.
Another voter, Alexandra Stehman from Philadelphia, asked Trump about the comments he reportedly made about American war dead and servicemembers, along with disparaging things he’s said publicly about the late Sen. John McCain.
The President angrily slammed The Atlantic’s report that said he called dead American soldiers ‘losers’ and ‘suckers’ and told a town hall audience he didn’t need to build back support of military members ‘because I never made those statements’
His feelings about the late Sen. John McCain were well known, Trump said
He also also blasted his former Defense Secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis, saying Mattis was among the ‘disgruntled former employees’ who lied about him
Trumped went further to suggest the report was a Democratic conspiracy.
‘This magazine came up. They made up this quote. It was a made up quote and you know, the gloves are off with Biden – who I’ve never respected greatly – I’ve never respected him greatly,’ Trump said, inserting the name of his Democratic opponent.
He asked Stehman, ‘Do you know what disinformation is?’
‘That’s what it was. They made up a phony quote, and then they went with it. It was a phony deal. And then one who started it was a big friend of President Obama and Clinton,’ Trump continued. ‘And it was a phony deal from a very – not very successful magazine.’
Trump added that both ’25 people’ and also ’26 people’ vouched for him.
When moderator George Stephanopoulos pointed out that former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly didn’t come to Trump’s defense after the article was published, Trump referred to them as ‘people that I let go.’
‘These are disgruntled former employees,’ Trump said.
Stehman had also asked Trump about previous statements he’s made about the late Sen. John McCain, which the president admitted to doing.
‘As far as John McCain, I was never a fan of John McCain. I never thought he treated our vets well, he didn’t do the job,’ Trump said.
‘I was never a fan of his. But – and I think that’s fine and everybody knows that, and I said it to his face.’
Explaining his covid response, Trump quoted comments from his lead covid expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, early in the pandemic amid a shortage of protective gear – then noted that ‘some people’ say not to shut down businesses to spread disease transmission.
‘But whether it’s Dr. Fauci or anybody else, a lot of people got it wrong. They talked about don’t wear masks, and now they say wear masks. Although some people say don’t wear masks,’ Trump said.
‘I mean you have a lot of different ideas. Some people say just leave it the way it is and don’t do any shutdowns, and other people say do shutdowns,’ he said.
Another undecided voter, Ajani Powell, a voter from Pittsburgh, asked the question, ‘The wearing of masks has proven to lessen the spread of COVID. Why don’t you support a mandate for national mask wearing?’
‘And a good question is, you ask why Joe Biden — they said we’re going to do a national mandate on masks,’ Trump said, referencing a comment Biden made weeks ago about what he might do once in office after consulting experts.
‘He’s called on all governors to have them. There’s a state responsibility,’ said Stephanopoulos.
‘Well no, but he didn’t do it. I mean, he never did it,’ Trump said.
‘I don’t want to drive our nation into a panic. I’m a cheerleader for this nation. I’m the one that closed up our country. I closed it up long before any of the experts thought I should –
and saved hundreds of thousands of lives,’ Trump claimed.
Trump also fielded had a testy exchange with Ellesia Blaque, a black college professor who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Blaque who has sarcoidosis and said each year she pays $7,000 plus copays.
‘From the day I was born, I was considerable uninsurable. That disease started in my skin, moved to my eyes, into my optic nerves, and when I went to graduate school, into my brain,’ she said.
She told the president: ‘And should pre-existing conditions — which ObamaCare brought into — brought into — brought to fruition be removed … within a 36 to 72-hour period, without my medication, I will be dead.’
When Trump tried to interject to say it would not be removed, she told him: ‘Please stop and let me finish my question, sir.’
‘We are not going to hurt anything having to do with pre-existing conditions. We’re not going to hurt pre-existing conditions. And — in fact, just the opposite,’ Trump said.
When Trump tried to interject to say it would not be removed, she told him: ‘Please stop and let me finish my question, sir.”We are not going to hurt anything having to do with preexisting conditions. We’re not going to hurt preexisting conditions. And — in fact, just the opposite,’ Trump said.
‘If you look at what they want to do, where they have socialized medicine, they will get rid of preexisting conditions,’ Trump claimed. He did not note, as the questioner did, that Obamacare established protections for those with preexisting conditions.
Moderator Stephanopoulos fact checked the president immediately: ‘Number one, Joe Biden … ran against Medicare for All in the primaries,’ Stephanopoulos said.’But much more importantly, Obamacare guaranteed people with preexisting conditions could buy insurance, guaranteed they could buy it at the same price as everyone else, guaranteed a package of essential benefits, guaranteed that insurance companies couldn’t put a lifetime limit on those benefits,’ Stephanopoulos said.
Stephanopoulos also noted that the Trump administration was in court seeking to strike down the Obamacare law, which includes the preexisting conditions protections.
Trump pushed back claiming that he had a plan, after Stephanopoulos reminded him: ‘I interviewed you in June of last year, you said the healthcare plan would come in two weeks.
‘I have it all ready – I have it all ready,’ Trump said.
‘You’ve been trying to strike down preexisting conditions,’ Stephanopoulos maintained.
‘It doesn’t matter, I have it all ready, and it’s a much better plan for you – and it’s a much better plan,’ Trump responded, in reference to Ellesia Blaque’s question on the fate of people with pre-existing conditions under Trump’s proposed health plan.