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Trump pledges to expand opportunity for every race

President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump, left, Vice President Mike Pence, right, and his wife Karen Pence, speaks during a National African American History Month reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is pledging to expand opportunity for Americans of every race, religion and creed as he commemorates Black History Month.

Speaking to hundreds Thursday at a White House reception, Trump boasted about the economy and said the unemployment rate for African-Americans is at its “lowest ever.”

Black unemployment did reach a low, 5.9 percent, in May 2018. But that figure changes monthly and had increased to 6.8 percent by January.

Trump also touted passage of a criminal justice reform bill in December. He says the nation’s sentencing laws disproportionally “harm African-American communities far, far greater than anybody else.”

Catherine Toney, one of the first inmates released through the bill’s passage, thanked Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner for their efforts as the crowd applauded in approval.

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