President Donald Trump will attend a criminal justice forum in South Carolina on Friday along with many of his 2020 Democratic challengers, CNN reports. The 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum is expected to be attended by former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, In., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The Democrats are scheduled to speak on Saturday or Sunday.
The event at the historically black Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., is billed as a “bipartisan forum of presidential candidates exclusively focused on criminal justice reform as it affects the Black community.” Last month, Trump announced that his administration would lift a ban on federal funding for faith-based historically black colleges and universities. Trump has cast himself as the best leader for African Americans, despite securing only eight percent of the black vote in 2016 and frequently stoking racial tensions. The forum will give him the opportunity to discuss the First Step Act that he signed last year and includes measures that have allowed thousands of federal inmates to leave prison earlier than they otherwise would have, eased some mandatory minimum sentences and gave judges more leeway in sentencing.