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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 5 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 7 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

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