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Trump privately blamed Black Americans for lacking initiative: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE allegedly made private claims among senior officials that a lack of initiative, rather than racism, had prevented progress in the United States by Black Americans, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday

The Post story put remarks Trump made in private in the context of other derogatory remarks it said he privately made about other groups, including Hispanics and Jewish Americans. 

More than two dozen current and former U.S. officials spoke to the Post about the remarks, it said. Many did so on the condition of anonymity because they said they feared retribution.

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Officials said that in one instance, Trump said following phone calls with Jewish lawmakers that Jews “are only in it for themselves” and “stick together” in an ethnic alliance. 

In response to first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Early in-person voting kicks off in Florida | Biden lays low to prep for debate | Trump rips Fauci on call with campaign staff Melania Trump to appear at Pennsylvania rally Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event MORE’s planned 2018 trip to Africa, the president reportedly said he “could never understand why she would want to go there.”

According to a former senior White House official who spoke to the Post, Trump responded to staffers who challenged him on his views by saying, “No one loves Black people more than me.” 

In response to a request for comment, the White House directed The Hill to a statement provided to the Post from White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews. 

“Donald Trump’s record as a private citizen and as president has been one of fighting for inclusion and advocating for the equal treatment of all,” Matthews told the Post. “Anyone who suggests otherwise is only seeking to sow division.”

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The Post reported that none of the U.S. officials interviewed could provide an instance of Trump saying a racial or ethnic slur in his 3 1/2 years in office. Additionally, the officials do not think Trump supports “white supremacy or white nationalism.” 

The reporting comes with less than two months left until Trump faces reelection against Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter Trump narrows Biden's lead in Pennsylvania: poll Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast MORE.

Polls show Trump behind Biden, particularly among Black voters, though polls show Trump doing well with Hispanics compared to 2016.

On Tuesday, Trump announced that he was extending his administration’s ban on race- and sex-based discrimination training for federal agency employees by including federal contractors as well. 

In an executive order, the White House claimed that training on “divisive concepts,” such as ideas that one racial group is superior, “perpetuates racial stereotypes and division and can use subtle coercive pressure to ensure conformity of viewpoint.”