June 21, 2017; CNN Politics
The Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday has declined an invitation from President Trump to meet again. As readers may remember, the CBC’s first meeting with the president on March 22nd was tense and guarded, as signified by the fact that the members avoided any photo ops with Trump. Still, the Caucus came well and respectfully prepared, presenting the president with a 130-page document meant to educate the president and his administration on “the difficult history of black people in this country, the history of the CBC, and solutions to advance black families in the 21st century.”
This meeting, the invitation to which was extended to all CBC members by Omorosa Manigault, director of communications in the White House Office of Public Liaison, was to “to continue the discussion of issues presented in (their) previous meeting.” The previous meeting, of course, was arranged only after a bizarre interaction between the president and April Ryan, a seasoned Black reporter, at an open press conference, where he asked her to be the liaison after asking, “Are they friends of yours?”
CBC Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) wrote, in a letter addressed to the president, “Based on actions taken by you and your administration since that meeting, it appears that our concerns, and your stated receptiveness to them, fell on deaf ears.”
He finds evidence of this in the details of Trump’s proposed budget, the actions taken by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind reforms to mandatory sentencing, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s refusal to commit to federal discrimination protections for LGBTQ students, and the administration’s continued push to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“The CBC will always be willing to engage in discussion and debate about policies and programs that will make America a more perfect union for all,” the letter concludes.—Ruth McCambridge