COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump is visiting South Carolina as part of a bipartisan event on criminal justice reform, the White House confirmed Friday.

Trump is slated to appear on Oct. 25 at a forum sponsored by the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center, the self-proclaimed “only nationwide coalition of Black Republicans, Democrats and Independents focused on criminal justice reform.”

The event at Columbia’s Benedict College marks Trump’s first visit to a historically black college or university. Some of the Democrats vying to challenge him are planning to attend, including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

This is Trump’s first 2020 campaign stop in South Carolina, among the states where Republicans have opted not to hold presidential primaries and caucuses. The moves allow Trump to consolidate support as Democrats work to winnow their large candidate field.

The event puts Trump on stage with prominent black leaders in South Carolina, where African American voters dominate the Democratic electorate.

It also brings Trump back to the home state of Gov. Henry McMaster, who as lieutenant governor was the first statewide-elected official to back him in the 2016 election cycle. McMaster’s office didn’t immediately respond Friday to an inquiry as to whether the officials would meet during next week’s visit.

In a recent national Associated Press/NORC poll, 4% of black voters said they think Trump’s actions have been good for African Americans in general, while 81% think he’s made things worse.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at