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President Trump to participate in criminal justice forum with 2020 Democrats at historically black college

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President Donald Trump will participate in a criminal justice forum, which will also feature some Democratic presidential candidates, next week at a historically black college in South Carolina, according to The State.

The president will appear at the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center's Second Step Presidential Justice Forum on Oct. 25. Trump was an initial invitee to the event, although organizers reportedly did not expect him to participate.

The forum will be at Benedict College in Columbia. 20/20 describes itself as "the only nationwide coalition of black Republicans, Democrats and Independents focused on criminal justice reform."

The event is supposed to be "exclusively focused on the future of criminal justice reform after the First Step Act," the bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that was widely supported by the president and lawmakers from both parties. However, it seems likely that candidates will try to use the platform to compete with one another.

"Our campaign looks forward to contrasting Trump's commitment to dividing our country with racist rhetoric to Kamala Harris' commitment to unifying us and moving forward with comprehensive criminal justice reform," Jerusalem Demsas, South Carolina campaign spokesperson for Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), said, according to The State.

The candidates will not be on stage together but rather will speak to the audience during individual sessions over the course of the event.

President Trump, Sen. Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Rep. John Delaney (Md.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

The State reported that the event will include an HBCU "straw poll" to gauge support for the candidates. President Trump has a 4 percent approval rating among black voters in South Carolina, according to a recent poll, and earned 4 percent of the state's black vote in 2016.

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