Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., pushed back on Sunday on President Trump’s claims that he’s “done more for the black community than any other president” besides Abraham Lincoln.
Bass, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, countered Trump’s boast by saying that while the president may have put his signature on legislation from Congress that helps African-Americans, he has also pushed policies and made statements that have been detrimental to the community as a whole, although she offered no examples.
Trump has touted that African-American unemployment pre-pandemic had reached its lowest level in history and has taken credit for Congress passing criminal justice reforms and funding for historically black colleges.
“It pains me every time I hear him talk about the unemployment rate,” Bass said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “I would give him credit if there was some policy, some program that he put in place that contributed to that. The unemployment rate for African-Americans prior to COVID was dropping because of the economy.”
She added: “And I congratulate him for signing legislation that people had worked on for many, many years, but it’s not as though he came to Congress and said, ‘let’s do criminal justice reform, I want to fund historically black colleges.’ He signed legislation that we put before him.”
The president on Wednesday tweeted that he’s “done more for Black Americans, in fact, than any President in U.S. history, with the possible exception of another Republican President, the late, great, Abraham Lincoln…and it’s not even close.”
He repeated that claim again during an interview on Thursday on Fox News, but hedged by saying, “let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln because he did good, although, it’s always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.”
Fox News host Harris Faulkner countered the president’s words: “Well, we are free, Mr. President. So, he did pretty well.”
While Bass did not point to any specific Trump comments or policies on Sunday, she did say that “all of the policies he’s done, all of the statements that he’s made that have been harmful to African-Americans. And if you look at the balance, I’m sorry, it does not balance out.”
Bass added that she believes police reform, which has come to the forefront of the national conscience since the protests over the killing of George Floyd, is feasible and that Congress can get the support of law enforcement agencies.
“We’re finding a lot of support from police officers,” she said. “Yesterday I had an hourlong meeting with the Fraternal Order of Police, and they are very supportive of the idea of national standards and significant training.”
She added: “You should be accredited to be a police officer; any profession that allows you to use lethal force, there should be very significant training.”