Donald Trump has asked a black reporter to set up a meeting with her “friends” in a group representing African American members of Congress after being questioned on his policy for inner cities.
“I know this is gonna be a bad question,” the President said as April Ryan stood to speak at a press conference.
The veteran broadcaster, who serves as the Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, asked Mr Trump to expand on his campaign pledge to “fix” crime in US cities.
“When you say the inner cities, are you going to include the Congressional Black Causus (CBC) in your conversations with your urban agenda?” she asked, after the President claimed parts of Chicago were “worse than almost any of the places in the Middle East”.
“I’ll tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?” Mr Trump replied. “Are they friends of yours? So set up the meeting.”
He added: “I would love to meet with the black caucus. I think it’s great.”
Ms Ryan could be heard repeating “I’m just a reporter”, adding: “I know some of them, I’m sure they’re watching right now.”
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The journalist told CNN she was “shocked” by the exchange, which came during a chaotic press conference that saw the President repeatedly attack gathered journalists.
The CBC, which includes both Republicans and Democrats, responded with a tweet reading: “Hi, @realDonaldTrump,” We’re the CBC. We sent you a letter on January 19, but you never wrote us back. Sad!”
Ms Ryan later reported that the White House had invited the CBC to set up a meeting, although no date had been set.
Prior to the exchange, Mr Trump answered a question about the recent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes across the US. He responded by describing himself as “the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life,” adding: “Number two: racism, I am the least racist person.”