Law and order, race relations, and COVID-19 were recurring topics addressed by President Trump Tuesday night in an ABC News town hall event.
In the televised meeting at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, ABC News‘ George Stephanopoulos and undecided voters posed several questions to the president.
Here are a few highlights from Tuesday night’s event:
When asked if the nation is facing racial injustices, the president affirmed that “tragic events” have occurred.
“If you look at our police, they do a phenomenal job,” Trump said. “You’ll have people choke, make mistakes, and they happen… it happens, where they have to make a fast decision and some bad things happen.”
“And I will say this if you’re going to stop crime, we have to give the… the respect back to the police that they deserve,” he added. “They’ve done a fantastic job in so many locations, but then bad things happen.”
Trump was asked to clarify whether racial inequality was present in America.
“Well, I hope there’s not a race problem,” he stated. “I can tell you, there’s none with me, because I have great respect for all races, for everybody. This country is great because of it.”
The president explained that the income gap between black and white families was improving prior to the coronavirus pandemic that hit the economy hard.
“There was a gap but we were doing a good job. It was getting better, and then it was artificially shut down by this disease that came onto our land,” Trump said.
Another voter inquired how he can devise a better balance between police reform without sacrificing the public’s safety.
Trump praised a plan developed by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), which both political parties agreed to, yet it never came to fruition.
“He (Scott) had a plan that was very much of a compromise plan but it was a plan that everybody pretty much agreed to,” Trump said. “A lot of Democrats agreed to it but they wouldn’t vote for it.”
“Democrats are viewing this as a political issue and I probably agree with them. I think it’s very bad for them because we’re about law and order,” he added. “We have to be about law and order, otherwise you’re going to see your cities burn and that’s the way it is.”
When the conversation shifted to COVID-19 and the current death rate, Trump insisted that the number of deaths in America would have been higher if he hadn’t closed down the country.
“I think we could have had two million deaths if we didn’t close out the country. It is going to disappear. It would go away without the vaccine, but it’s going to go away a lot faster with it. But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly,” he said.
The president also defended his position on mandating a face mask to prevent the spread of the virus.
“I do wear them when I have to and when I’m in hospitals and other locations,” Trump said. “Now there is, by the way, a lot of people don’t want to wear masks. There are a lot of people who think that masks are not good.”
“The concept of a mask is good, but it also does…you’re constantly touching it, you’re touching your face, you’re touching plates. There are people that don’t think masks are good.”
The meeting ended with a voter asking President Trump how he planned to amend the immigration system.
“We’re working on something very hard right now. And in a very short time, we’re going to be announcing it. And I think it’s going to have quite an impact. I think it’s going to be something that actually will be popular for all.”
ABC News reached out to the Biden campaign to schedule a similar meeting, but the two sides say they couldn’t find a date that would work.