Trump claims nobody has done more for black community with 'possible exception' of Abraham Lincoln
Keep an eye on Joe Biden’s face when the current president mentions one of his most famous predecessors
Donald Trump defended himself against accusations that he has contributed to racial tension and division in the United States by suggesting that no president in history has done more for the black community than he has, with the “possible exception” of Abraham Lincoln.
Trump made the claim during the latest presidential debate with rival candidate Joe Biden in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday night.
The debate was a more civil affair than the first, possibly due to the introduction of a mute button that allowed each candidate an uninterrupted two minutes to answer a question at the start of each section, although standards of civility had not exactly been set high in Cleveland last month.
There was still room for plenty of barbs flying from both sides – Trump brought up recent media reports about the Ukrainian business interests of his opponent's son Hunter – but perhaps the most interesting exchange of the debate took place on the issue of race.
Responding to a question from moderator Kristen Welker about whether comments he has made in the recent past have contributed to “a climate of hate and racial strife”, Trump said that he is “the least racist person in this room”.
Elaborating on the subject, Trump said: “Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump.
“And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, possible exception but the exception of Abraham Lincoln, nobody has done what I’ve done.”
US President Donald Trump has said that only Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery, has done more for black Americans than him.
Joe Biden called his opponent "one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history".
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— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 23, 2020
In response, Joe Biden said: “Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history.
“He pours fuel on every single racist fire, every single one. Started off his campaign coming down the escalator saying he’s going to get rid of those Mexican rapists. He’s banned Muslims because they’re Muslims. He has moved around and made everything worse across the board.
“He says about The Poor (sic) Boys, last time we were on stage here he said 'I told them to stand down and stand ready'. Come on. This guy has a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn.”
Trump himself was in no doubt as to who came out on top in the debate, tweeting a number of selectively-chosen Twitter polls that suggested he was the clear winner.
The US presidential election takes place on Tuesday, 3 November.