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Dem Rep Meeks: Trump Trying To Con African-Americans

On this weekend’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s outreach to African-American voters was “not real” because “this is his first time visiting a black church.”

Therefore according to Meeks, it was “a bait and switch scenario” in which Trump was trying to “con African-Americans.”

Partial transcript as follows:

WALLACE: Joining me now, Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC. Congressman, welcome to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Good to be with you, Chris.

WALLACE: Do you give Trump any credit at all for going into the inner city and meeting with African-Americans?

MEEKS: No, because it’s not real. And Donald Trump has a career. Here in New York where he’s never — this is his first time visiting a black church. And so here again, you have what I think is a bait and switch scenario that Donald Trump is trying to put on and to, you know, in the words of Marco Rubio, con the American people, and instance, con African-Americans. It’s — clearly, his record speaks for itself.

WALLACE: You say he’s trying to con them. Do you think that Donald Trump is a racist?

MEEKS: Well, I’d just say some of the things as indicated by the speaker, by Senator Scott, not by me, some of the things that Donald Trump has said clearly are racist. They have indicated it. That, you know, there were remarks that were racist in character.

So, I can only go by what one says and what one has done and clearly if you look at Donald Trump’s record from the time that he started out with his father with the lawsuits until the very first statements and to not acknowledging David Duke immediately, to there goes my African-American, those are all statements. What do you have to lose? Those are all statements that I would say led one to believe that he has racist tendencies. At least those are what his beliefs are if you believe what he says.

WALLACE: But, Congressman, doesn’t Trump have a point that things are not getting better in America’s inner cities? I want to put up some numbers — 26.2 percent of blacks now live below the poverty line, 25.5 percent of food stamp recipients are blacks and black home ownership is 47 percent.

Congressman, all of those are worse since President Obama took office.

MEEKS: But, you know, what we are doing — where we are now is much better than when we were when President Obama was — you know, took office in 2008.

WALLACE: But those aren’t better, those are worse.

MEEKS: Well, we’re coming from the greatest recession since the Great Depression and a lot of people lost their homes and the wealth in the African-American community and it’s — we have to build back.

That’s why it’s important that we have if kinds of policies that are being talked about by Hillary Clinton that would help build back and reduce income disparity. That’s why we also we have to make sure that we are raising minimum wage and focused on small businesses, which is important. That’s also where we have to make sure we’re protecting historically black colleges and investing in historically black colleges for education and talking about education that’s affordable and free for some, so that the key to tomorrow in America is a better education or trade.

These are all subject matters that which Hillary Clinton has been talking about.

WALLACE: But, Congressman, do you hear anything in the very different Republican ideas about school choice, about enterprise zones, about renegotiating trade deals that have taken jobs out of America’s inner cities? Do you hear anything in those Republican ideas that you think maybe that’s an interesting alternative?

MEEKS: Well no. I think that if you go to Washington, for example, there’s an idea that Mr. Jim Clyburn from South Carolina put together called the 10-20-30 plan to help eradicate poverty in America and I think it’s been embraced — I know it’s been embraced by Senator Clinton, but also by Speaker Ryan. As some kind of dialogue that we can begin to have and to talk about, because I think that the issues, we’ve got to reduce the disparities that we have, because for sure the disparities are great within the African-American community.  But you’ve also got to reduce poverty. And when we talk about issues of poverty, for example, we don’t say that those Republicans that represented Appalachia for years are responsible for the poverty that is there. So, we’ve got to have a deep conversation and I think the conversation could be had on a bipartisan basis, dealing with specific policy as the 10-20-30.

WALLACE: During the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders went after Clinton in several cases from the left. For instance, he noted that the welfare reform plan that she supported and her husband signed into law in 1996 resulted in more than the doubling of the number of Americans living in extreme poverty. He noted that the crime bill that she supported and President Clinton signed in 1994 dramatically increased the number of blacks going into prison and the amount of time that they spent there.  Isn’t that part of the Clinton record?

MEEKS: You know, I think that if you put into perspective what was taking place at that time and when you look at the crack epidemic that was going on, many of that — much of that that took place at that time is taken out of context when we talk today. If you recall at that time, the income disparity between African-Americans and others was shrinking. You talk about unemployment was the lowest that it had been. In fact, so many good things were happening in the African-American community that some was calling Bill Clinton at the time the first African-American president.  So, you don’t speak of that now, but when you think of small businesses in which Hillary Clinton is focused on, and investment in urban America and the inner cities, creating businesses and opportunities for African-American communities, utilizing minority businesses, that was all positive and something that Hillary Clinton talks about today.

WALLACE: Finally, again, I have about a minute left for this. I want to ask you to respond to what Dr. Carson said about the release of the FBI files and to the e-mails. More than two dozen times during that interview with the FBI, Hillary Clinton said she could not recall, did not remember key events. It turns out she didn’t have one BlackBerry as she had told the press, it turns out she had 15.  Your response?

MEEKS: My response is that it’s clear: Hillary Clinton has gone through several hearings in Congress. Now, you’ve heard the FBI director say that there’s nothing that she did that was criminal, or anything of that nature.

WALLACE: He didn’t say it was criminal. But he did say it was negligent and extremely careless.

MEEKS: Yes. You heard that the secretary say that if she had a chance to do it again, she wouldn’t have done it. She’s been apologetic about it. But there’s been nothing, there’s been no smoking gun, as Republicans talked about. You heard my colleague on the Republican side, McCarthy, said this all from the beginning, whether you talked about Benghazi or other items, was just to try to discredit Hillary because when you talk about policy issues and how we take this country forward, you can’t compare. And so, you try to divert, whether — you know, so there’s no smoke and no fire.

(h/t The Hill)

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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