COLUMBIA, S.C. — President Donald Trump is coming to Columbia to take part in a criminal justice reform event in the city, South Carolina Republican party officials confirmed to News19.
The president is expected to speak on Friday, October 25 at Benedict College where he'll deliver the keynote address at the Second Step Presidential Forum. The event is being put together by the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center, which on their website says their goal is to is to “empower local leaders to implement innovative and practical solutions to problems in the criminal justice system.”
The event runs through Sunday, and as it so happens, will feature nearly all of the Democratic candidates running for president. The group says Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Amy Klobuchar, and Julian Castro will also appear.
The candidates will not be at the event, however, at the same time Trump will be here. People who want to attend the event must purchase tickets through the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center website.
Tickets for the president's event are sold out and are no longer on the ticket site. Tickets are still available for the other events, and are $40 each, and are sold per candidate time slot.
Benedict College College President Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis issued the following statement that reads in part:
"We are excited for our students who will witness, first-hand, this historical bipartisan engagement. Most of all, the PJF Second Step Presidential Forum focused on Criminal Justice Reform, will serve as tangible evidence for our students of how diversity of thought and positive social action work together in the democracy of our country."
"Most important, Columbia and Benedict College are positioned at the epi-center of the 2020 Presidential campaign engagements."
There has been increasing support from political leaders in the last year for criminal justice reform at the state and local level. Last December, President Trump signed a bipartisan bill that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences in some cases, among other changes. Most of the others plans look to give judges more leeway in sentencing people for non-violent crimes, particularly drug convictions. The long-term goal is to reduce the prison population.
President Trump was last in the Columbia area in June of 2018 for a campaign event for Gov. Henry McMaster, who was running for re-election. In that stop, President Trump spoke for an hour inside the gymnasium at Airport High School.