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White House hosts Black History Month event

Posted at 4:10 PM, Feb 13, 2018

 President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are set to host a reception at the White House on Tuesday honoring Black History Month.

The event comes on the heels of Trump's first year as president, during which he has repeatedly stoked racial tensions and drawn stiff rebukes from the African-American community for his reaction to racial issues in America. Just a month ago, Trump faced accusations of racism after he referred to African nations as "s---hole countries" in a private meeting with lawmakers.

The comments, which came in the context of immigration, were just the latest instance when Trump has drawn widespread rebuke over comments that were racially charged.

Most notably, Trump faced widespread condemnation after he refused to unequivocally condemn white supremacists for the violence their rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked. Instead, Trump asserted that there was "blame on both sides" and suggested that not all of the torch-bearing individuals who marched while shouting racist chants were white supremacists.

"I think there is blame on both sides," Trump said then. "You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I'll say it right now."

Critics also alleged that Trump's heavy-handed criticism of NFL players who knelt in protest during the National Anthem was racially charged.

Trump has also sought to reach out to the black community -- both during his campaign and during his time in the White House. But his efforts have often been overshadowed by his role in exposing and exploiting racial fissures in America.

When Trump attended the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights museum in December, two prominent black congressmen said they would not attend because Trump's "hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum."