February is Black History Month in America. U.S. President Donald Trump participated in a reception that was held in honor of National Black History Month in the East Room of the White House on Thursday in Washington, DC.
During his impassioned speech, the President raised his fist - a symbol of power, strength and unity among Black Americans whose descendants are indigenous to West Africa.
President Trump received a hug from Catherine Toney, a former inmate who was the first woman released following the passage of Trump's prison reform First Step Act.
"Nobody thought we could get this done," said Trump of his First Step Act. "We worked with conservatives and liberals, and those in the middle, we worked with a lot of people and we got this done,” Trump said.
He praised his son-in-law Jared Kushner for his hard work in getting the bill passed.
Toney nervously thanked President Trump and Kushner for their efforts to pass the criminal justice reform bill that helped secure her release from prison. She was joined at the reception by her daughter and granddaughter.
Toney noted that she languished in prison for sixteen long years.
"If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be standing up here today," she said. "I'm so thankful. I'm so thankful to them and I'm so thankful to God for the opportunity to be standing before you all. Thank you again Mr. President," she said, as hundreds of invited guests applauded and chanted "Trump! Trump! Trump!"
First Lady Melania Trump, left, looked on as Trump delivered an impassioned speech honoring influential Black Americans who fought for civil rights for Black people in America.
"Today we thank God for all the blessings that the African-American community continues to give our nation and we pledge our resolve to expand opportunity for Americans of every race, color, and creed," he said.
President Trump touted the passage of his criminal justice reform bill, in addition to the low Black unemployment rate.
Despite the criticism from the left, saying Trump ignored Black History Month, there was scant mainstream news coverage of the Black History Month White House reception on Thursday.
Photos by Win McNamee/Getty Images