- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump marked Black History Month Tuesday with a reception at the White House honoring the contributions of blacks in military service.

“African Americans have fought courageously in every war since the Revolution,” the president said during an event in the East Room. “Long before our nation righted the wrongs of slavery and segregation, African Americans gave their hearts, their sweat, their blood and their very lives to defend the United States, its flag and its highest ideals.”

Among the 150 or so invited guests were Charles Nesby, a former Navy captain and air wing commander, who also served as director of Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Minority Affairs. Also in attendance was Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“You defend for all Americans the same beautiful dream that inspired Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others,” Mr. Trump told the audience. “It is a dream where every citizen regardless of color, religion or background can grow up to succeed and to thrive — a nation where every family is safe, where every community can prosper, and where all Americans can stand tall and proud and free.”

From the crowd of invited guests, the president got an enthusiastic response when he spoke of the black unemployment rate in the U.S. reaching its lowest level in history under his administration. It was a sharp contrast with his State of the Union address last month, when members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democrats didn’t applaud the achievement, prompting Mr. Trump to later call their response “un-American.”

At the event on Tuesday, the president praised the courage and sacrifices of “the heroes of the civil-rights movement.”

“Just like so many African Americans throughout our history who have struggled and sacrificed for freedom, we must do our part to make that vision real for every single American,” Mr. Trump said. “As long as we have faith in our citizens, confidence in our values and trust in God, we will not fail. We will protect the birthright of freedom for all Americans.”

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