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Trump assails Black Lives Matter in appeal to Black voters

Trump assails Black Lives Matter in appeal to Black voters
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President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE on Friday assailed the Black Lives Matter movement as an “an extreme socialist” organization that is harmful to Black Americans during a campaign event planned to court Black voters. 

Trump criticized the organization, whose goal is to combat police violence and racial injustice, for calling for funding to be reduced or redirected from police departments during a campaign event in Atlanta. He sought to blame violence and destruction that has accompanied some racial justice protests in U.S. cities on Black Lives Matter. 

“It’s really hurting the Black community,” Trump said. “This is an unusual name for an organization whose ideology and tactics are right now destroying many Black lives.” 

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Trump claimed that Black Lives Matter wants to “achieve destruction of the nuclear family” and “abolish” the police, prisons, border security, capitalism and school choice. 

“This is not the agenda of the Black community. This is the agenda of an extreme socialist or worse, you know what the other word is — Marxist, communist — this is the extreme socialist left, but beyond that in my opinion,” Trump continued. 

At one point during his remarks, Trump referred to Black Lives Matter organizers as “fools” — prompting cheers from the crowd. 

Trump made the comments after decrying the “tragic deaths” of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery — Black Americans who were all killed by white individuals this year. Floyd and Taylor were both killed by police. 

“Our hearts break for their families and all families who have lost a loved one,” Trump said, “but we can never allow mob rule.” 

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Trump has offered similar criticism of Black Lives Matter before, including during an interview with Fox News host Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamFox News to revamp daytime programming, replace 7 pm news hour with opinion show Sacking the Capitol proves free speech is in trouble FBI: No evidence antifa involved in Capitol riot MORE last month when he called the group a “Marxist organization” that is “discriminatory” and “bad for Black people.”

Still, Friday’s criticism was striking because it came during an event where the president sought to court Black voters. Trump laid out a specific second-term agenda, which he dubbed a “Platinum Plan” for Black voters, that included promises to make Juneteenth a federal holiday and prosecute the Klu Klux Klan as a terrorist organization. 

It came in a state that has been reliably Republican in recent presidential elections, but where polls show a tight race between Trump and Democrat Joe BidenJoe BidenKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Tom Hanks: After years of 'troubling rancor,' Inauguration Day 'is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal' MORE. A loss in Georgia would almost certainly be too much for Trump to overcome to reach 270 electoral votes. 

Protests against racial injustice have gripped the country in recent months, following Floyd’s death at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis in May. Trump has largely focused on the violent elements of protests and demanded “law and order,” while rejecting the idea that there is systemic racism in American law enforcement. 

On Friday, Trump expressed confidence that the justice system would hold wrongdoers accountable and described the push to “defund the police” as threatening to public safety.

“Those pushing to defund the police are hurting Black communities the most,” Trump said. “When there is police misconduct, the justice system must hold wrongdoers fully responsible and accountable, and they will do that.”