To commemorate the beginning of Black History Month, President Donald Trump hosted a "listening session” with African-American aides and supporters and made some remarks to the media about famous historical figures, including Martin Luther King, Jr., abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman and civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
Trump said that King was “unique” in American history and that Douglass has “done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more.” Trump met with Martin Luther King Jr.’s oldest son at Trump Tower in New York in January.
The president also made some remarks about the media coverage of his presidency. He called called CNN “hostile” and “fake news” and said Fox News “has treated me very nice.”
WATCH: Pres. Trump praises MLK, Frederick Douglass, and bemoans media coverage while discussing Black History Month. https://t.co/9Cz6jZCyaR— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) February 1, 2017
Transcript of President Donald Trump’s remarks on Black History Month
Well the election, it came out really well. Next time we'll triple the number or quadruple it. We want to get it over 51, right. At least 51.
Well, this is Black History Month, so this is our little breakfast, our little get-together. And just a few notes. During this month, we honor the tremendous history of the African-Americans throughout our country. Throughout the world, if you really think about it, right. And their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work, and faith in America. I've gotten a real glimpse during the campaign; I'd go around with Ben to a lot of places that I wasn't so familiar with. They're incredible people. And I want to thank Ben Carson, who's going to be heading up HUD, and it's a big job, and it's a job that's not only housing, it's mind and spirit, right? And you understand that. Nobody's going to be better than Ben.
Last month we celebrated the life of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. And it turned out that that was fake news. The statue is cherished. It's one of the favorite things — and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King. And we have other. But they said the statue, the bust, of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that's the way the press is. It's very unfortunate.
I am very proud now that we have a museum, National Mall, where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things, Frederick Doug — Douglass is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made Americans what it is today. Big impact. I'm proud to honor this heritage and will be honoring it more and more.
Folks at the table, in almost all cases, have been great friends and supporters. And Darrell [Scott], I met Darrell when he was defending me on television. And the people that were on the other side of the argument didn't have a chance, right. And Paris [Dennard] has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community; he's all by himself. Seven people and Paris. I'll take Paris over the seven. But I don't watch CNN, so I don't get to see you as much. I don't like watching fake news. But Fox has treated me very nice, wherever Fox is, thank you. We're going to need better schools, and we need 'em soon. We need more jobs, we need better wages, a lot better wages. We're going to work very hard on the inner city. Ben's going to be doing that, big league, that's one of his big things that we're going to be looking at. We need safer communities and we're going to do that with law enforcement. We're going to make it safe. We're going to make it much better than it is right now. Right now it's terrible.
I saw you talking about it the other night, Paris, on something else that was really — you did a fantastic job the other night on a very unrelated show. I'm ready to do my part, and I will say this, we're going to work together. This is a great group, this is a group that's been so special to me, you really helped me a lot. If you remember, I wasn't going to do well with the African-American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting, I won't go into details, but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years. And now we're going to take that to new levels. I want to thank my television star over here — Omarosa's actually a very nice person. Nobody knows that. I don't want to destroy her reputation. She is a very good person and she's been helpful right from the beginning with the campaign and I appreciate it, I really do. Very special. So I want to thank everybody for being here.
This story has been updated. The Associated Press contributed to this story.