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Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended President Trump against accusations of racism at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.

Why it matters: Carson, the only Black member of Trump's Cabinet, has become a loyal ally and defender of the president since running against him in the 2016 Republican primary.

The big picture: Joe Biden accused Trump in July of being the first racist to be elected to the White House — the first time the Democratic nominee had directly made the attack, per the Washington Post.

  • Biden made the accusation amid a cultural and political reckoning against systematic racism, driven by Black Lives Matter protests against the killing of George Floyd and against police brutality.
  • Several figures in the Trump administration have said that they do not believe systemic racism exists in the U.S., despite historic discrimination against Black Americans in the job market, the housing market and the disproportionate impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on racial minorities.

What he's saying: "President Trump does not dabble in identity politics. He wants everyone to succeed and believes in the adage, 'a rising tide lifts all boats.' Many on the other side love to incite division by claiming that President Trump is a racist. They could not be more wrong."

  • "One of the first things he did as president was bring the Office of Historically Black Colleges and Universities into the White House so that it could get proper attention and financial support. Before the pandemic, African American unemployment was at an all-time low."
  • "President Trump accomplished prison reform. He created incentives to encourage investors to become involved with economically-deprived areas of America."
  • "What is racist is the fact that African Americans have the highest abortion rate. President Trump is the most pro-life President in our country's history. He will continue to fight for those who cannot yet speak."

Of note: Carson began his speech by acknowledging the emotional toll currently faced by the family of Jacob Blake, who was shot several times in the back by police officers while walking to his car, per the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Go deeper

Kellyanne Conway: It "looks like" Biden, Harris will prevail

Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Kellyanne Conway, a former counselor to President Trump, said “it looks like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will prevail” in an interview with The 19th that aired on Friday.

Why it matters: Trump and his inner circle have so far refused to publicly acknowledge President-elect Biden won the election. Instead, they've attempted to paint the election process as fraudulent, despite states' certification of Biden's win and a lack of evidence supporting their claims.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

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