U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, testifies during the hearing of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, Jan. 11, in Washington, D.C. (Screengrab via PBS News Hour)

WASHINGTON — New Orleans Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond attacked President Donald Trump as a racist who's rolled back progress for minorities at a press conference hours before Trump's State of the Union address.

Richmond, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, appeared with other black lawmakers late Tuesday morning to blast Trump for offensive statements and policies Richmond and others contended have hurt black Americans.

"President Trump's racist rhetoric makes the country less safe for people of color by encouraging, emboldening and pandering to those who wish to do harm to others based on the color of their skin," Richmond said.

"Since his campaign, President Trump has taken every opportunity — in speeches, in groups, in meetings — to divide this country along racial lines," Richmond said. "He's called Mexicans criminals and rapists; he's called white supremacists 'very fine people'; he's called African-American football players 'sons of bitches'; he's called Haiti and Africa 'shithole countries'; when speaking about the flow of black and brown immigrants to this country, he uses the term 'chain migration.' And the list goes on and on and on."

Several Black Caucus members have announced plans to boycott the State of the Union address. Richmond said he supports that decision and stands "in solidarity" with those members. But he, along with most other CBC members, will attend.

The Black Caucus appeared at the press conference wearing red buttons that read "RECY," a nod to Recy Taylor, a black Alabama woman who was abducted and raped by a group of white men in 1944. Despite confessions, grand juries refused to bring charges against the perpetrators.

Taylor went on to become an activist and civil-rights organizer. Taylor, 97, died last month.

Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.