It looks like President Donald Trump is scheduled to have a sit-down with members of the Congressional Black Caucus after all.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a member of the CBC, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Feb. 19, that the president had answered their Jan. 19 meeting request “a day or so ago” and that he expected the meeting to take place the week of Feb. 27 after Congress returned from a week-long vacation.
The announcement comes just days after Trump made snide remarks to African-American White House reporter April Ryan when she asked whether he would include the CBC and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus “in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner-city agenda.”
“Do you want to set up the meeting?” Trump responded. “Are [members of the CBC] friends of yours?”
CBC member Rep. Jim Clyburn, (D-S.C.) said he was unsure of Trump’s implications in his remarks to Ryan but said he detected “an element of disrespect” during the exchange. He added that the president’s comments seemed to suggest that all Black people know each another.
The president, who’s struggled to win the support of African-Americans, claimed he wanted to meet with Rep. Cummings but said the congressman backed out for fear that meeting with Trump would hurt his political image. Cummings refuted the president’s claims, saying, “I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did.”
The CBC later confirmed that the real estate mogul-turned-politician had reached out and that discussions were underway to decide the best day and time to meet. Cummings told “Face the Nation” that African-American legislators hoped to discuss with Trump the need to reduce the cost of prescription medications, increase job growth and ensure voting rights. He acknowledged, however, that meeting with the Republican president might be a tough task due to their stark ideological differences.
“I’ve got to work with him on the things I can,” the Maryland Democrat said.
While Trump has made repeated and wholly unsubstantiated claims that voter fraud committed by over three million undocumented immigrants was the cause of him losing the popular vote to former rival Hillary Clinton, Cummings contended that the suppression of minority votes was a much more pressing issue.
“[Trump] doesn’t talk about all of the millions of people who have been denied the right to vote because of suppression,” he said. “So, I want to talk about things like that, also.”