On Wednesday, President Trump kicked off Black History Month by sitting down with African American leaders at the White House — most of whom were people who supported his campaign — for what was billed as a “listening session.” It was, in the sense that the attendees started out spending a lot of time listening to Trump complain about the media.

Below is a transcript of what he said in his introduction, during which the media was present. (It excludes niceties and the introductions of the attendees.) We’ve categorized his comments to give a sense of the conversation.

Key to subject categories:

  • THE MEDIA
  • ELECTION RESULTS
  • BLACK HISTORY
Hello, everybody. I hear from a lot of my friends, but you have been so helpful.
And we did well, the election — we — it came out really well. Next time, we’ll triple it up or quadruple it, right?
We want to get over 51, right? At least 51.
Well, this is Black History Month, so this is our little breakfast, our little get together.
Just a few notes. During this month, we honor the tremendous history of the African-Americans throughout our country, throughout the world if you really think about it, right? And this story’s one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work and faith in America. I’ve gotten a real glimpse during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places that I wasn’t so familiar with. They’re incredible people.
And I want to thank Ben Carson who’s going to be heading up HUD. It’s a big job, and it’s a job that’s not only housing, it’s mind and spirit, right, Ben? And you understand that. Nobody’s gonna be better than Ben.
Last month, we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. And it turned out that that was fake news. Fake news.
The statue is cherished, it’s one of the favorite things in the — and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln and we have Jefferson, we have Dr. Martin Luther King and we have — but they said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace. But that’s the way the press is, very unfortunate.
I am very proud now that we have a museum at the  where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. A big impact. I’m proud to honor this heritage and will be honoring it more and more.
The folks at the table in almost all cases have been great friends and supporters. And Darryl, I met Darryl when he was defending me on television.
And the people that were on the other side of the argument didn’t have a chance, right? And Paris has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community. He’s all by himself, seven people and Paris. And I’ll take Paris over the seven. But I don’t watch CNN, so I don’t get to see as much. I don’t like watching fake news.
So — but Fox has treated me very nice. Wherever Fox is, thank you.
We’re going to need better schools and we need them soon. We need more jobs. We need better wages, a lot better wages. We’re going to work very hard on the inner-city. Ben’s going to be doing that, big league, big time. It’s one of his big, big things that he’s going to be looking at.
We need safer communities and we’re going to do that with law enforcement. We’re going to make it safe. We’re going to make it much better than it is right now. Right now, it’s terrible. And I saw you talking about it the other night, Paris, on something else that was — really, you did a fantastic job the other night on a very unrelated show.
I’m ready to do my part — I’m ready to do my part. And I will say this, we’re going to work together. This is a great group. This is a group that’s been so special to me. You really helped me a lot. If you remember, I wasn’t going to do well with the African American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and a lots of other things, we ended up getting — I won’t go into details — but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years. And now we’re going to take that to new levels.
I want to thank my television star over here. Omarosa is actually a very nice person. Nobody knows that.
I don’t want to destroy her reputation, but she is a very good person and she’s been helpful right from the beginning of the campaign and I appreciate it. I really do — very special. And so I want to thank everybody for being here.
Could we maybe just go around the room and we’ll introduce ourselves and the press can stay for that. And I’m sure they have no questions about last night because it was such a good launch. We have a fantastic hopefully new justice of the Supreme Court, and hopefully that will be — he’ll be approved very, very quickly. He’s outstanding in every way. Academically, he’s done almost as well as you did, Darrell, in college.
Not quite, right? But he’s a great — a great man. I think he’ll be a great, great justice and he’s been very well received. It was a big evening, very big evening.
Well, thank you for supporting me, because I’d be all — I’d be in wilderness without you.
You are so effective. I appreciate it.
You know, the one thing I remember about Belinda, I thought they were married maybe five or six years, because look how they look so young. Should you say how many years you’ve been married?
It’s a great idea because Chicago is totally out of control.
Well, if they’re not going to solve the problem, and what you’re doing is the right thing, then we’re going to solve the problem for them because we’re gonna have to do something about Chicago because what’s happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country.
Thank you. And it is. I mean, a lot of the media is actually the opposition party. They’re so biased and really it’s a disgrace. Some of the media’s fantastic and fair, but so much of the media is opposition party, knowingly saying incorrect things. So it’s a very sad situation, but we seem to be doing well. You know, it’s almost like in the (inaudible) we won. So maybe they don’t have the influence they think.
But they really are. They really have to straighten out their act. They’re very dishonest people.
We did well in West Virginia. And we love the coal miners too. Gonna put them back to work.
Thank you, everybody.

At that point, the media left, and the listening session began. What critiques of what things Trump may have offered at that point are not a matter of public record.