U.S. voters had a rare opportunity to ask President Donald Trump tough questions during a town hall event on Tuesday night.
Trump fielded questions ranging from police brutality against Black people, to his decision to downplay the coronavirus pandemic and his tepid support for mask-wearing.
Referring to Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” one voter, a Black man, asked the president: “When has America been great for African-Americans in the ghetto of America?”
“We have tremendous African-American support,” Trump said, referring to unspecified “polls” and citing pre-pandemic employment numbers.
Trump claimed the situation under his administration prior to the pandemic was the “best single moment in the history of the African-American people in this country.”
When asked about police killings of Black people, the president blamed the problem a minority of police officers who are “bad apples” or “choke.”
“We have to give them their mojo,” Trump said of law enforcement.
Another voter questioned Trump about his indifference to wearing masks, which public health experts widely say are needed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“A lot of people don’t want to wear masks,” Trump said, adding, “there are people that don’t think masks are good.”
The president is facing a close re-election campaign with his Democratic rival Joe Biden holding narrow leads in key swing states less than 50 days until election day.