Trump asks black reporter if she is 'friends' with the Black Caucus

Members of the US Congressional Black Caucus have expressed bafflement and dismay after President Donald Trump asked a black reporter to set up a meeting with them.

Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said there is "an element of disrespect'' in Trump's comment to journalist April Ryan, asking her whether she was friends with CBC members and could convene a get-together.

"He's not going to ask any other reporter to do that for any other group, so why did he do that to her? I think that was pretty instructive to me,'' said Clyburn, a veteran lawmaker and member of the House Democratic leadership.

"I'm not racist," US President Donald Trump told reporters during his White House conference.

"I'm not racist," US President Donald Trump told reporters during his White House conference.

When asked whether Trump was implying that all black people know each other, Clyburn said, "I don't know what his implications were but that's my interpretation.''

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Joyce Beatty of Ohio said: "We have a rich history, we have some almost 50 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. We're not new. What a president should say is, yes, it's already on my agenda to talk to them.''

Ryan is a longtime White House reporter and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks. She asked Trump at his East Room press conference on Thursday whether he planned to include the CBC "in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner-city agenda.''

The president responded by asking Ryan whether the CBC are "friends of yours'' and remarking, "I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?''

Ryan herself responded over Twitter: "I am a journalist not a convener! But thank you for answering my questions.''

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And the CBC noted over Twitter that the group sent Trump a letter in January outlining areas where they could work together, "but you never wrote us back. Sad!''

Later in the news conference, Trump called on another  questioner, asking if he was "a friendly reporter."

When the journalist asked about recent threats to 48 Jewish centers across the country and signs of rising anti-Semitism, Trump appeared to take the question personally, replying: "I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life."

He added he was also the "least racist person," told the reporter to be "quiet," accused him of lying and then dismissed the question as "insulting."

 - AP

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