President Donald Trump has met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), some of his strongest critics in Congress.
The Wednesday meeting came two months after the CBC, which includes nearly all the black members of Congress, requested a meeting with the president.
Warm Welcome for Members of Congressional Black Caucus at White House
Talking to the media before the meeting in the Cabinet Room, Trump said he pledged during his campaign to "improve conditions for African American citizens.''
He also praised the contributions of black Americans, saying "they lifted up the conscience of our nation during the march toward civil rights, enriched the soul of America in their faith and courage, and they've advanced our country in the fields of science, arts and medicine.''
But black lawmakers said they told the president that his budget priorities and his legislative initiatives would hurt African Americans more than they would help.
"We did point out to President Trump that a lot of the policies that he's proposing will not only have an impact on the African Americans, but a greater impact on those folks who voted for him, who felt in desperation that they needed him to address their economic insecurity," Congresswoman Gwen Moore said after the meeting. "So we were very, very forward with suggesting to him that there were many, many Trump supporters that will suffer under current proposals."
CBC Chairman Congressman Cedric Richmond said he told the president he had been told by members of his family, his constituents, black voters and even caucus members to "not take a meeting with the president because of rhetoric, because of their feelings."
Trump received only 8 percent of the African American vote in last November's election.