He offered. They declined. If an issue of communication comes up, we know who to blame.
A new report from Politico states that the Congressional Black Caucus have refused an invitation to meet with President Trump, saying he has done nothing to advance their priorities, since their initial meeting in March. In fact, they feel his invite now is just for another photo-op.
Lawmakers in the 49-member group each received an invitation last week from Omarosa Manigault, the-reality-TV-star-turned-White-House-aide who has pitched herself as an unofficial liaison to the CBC.
“As requested by the president, we would like to schedule a follow-up meeting with the entire membership of the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss issues pertinent to your members,” Manigault wrote in the invitation, obtained by POLITICO.
But multiple CBC members said they were put off that she signed the invitation as “the Honorable Omarosa Manigault,” saying she hasn’t earned that title nor has she helped raise the profile of CBC issues within the White House as promised.
Yeah, the idea of Omarosa deciding to call herself “the Honorable Omarosa Manigault,” based on a made-up title would have put me off, as well.
With that aside, however, it’s laughable that the CBC feel the president owes it to them to advance their priorities – most of them the opposite of the current administration’s priorities – or that refusing to meet with him helps their efforts towards that end.
The group will meet today to discuss the invitation, but sources say rejection is a done deal.
The rejection is twofold.
For starters, they don’t feel cramming all 49 members into a room to discuss issues that are important to them would be productive.
A “too many cooks in the kitchen” situation.
Then there are the aforementioned issues they want addressed.
CBC sources said caucus members were miffed that the Trump budget proposal didn’t include additional funding for historically black colleges and universities after the president made a big show of meeting with leaders from those schools in the Oval Office in February.
Trump further angered the CBC when he issued a statement accompanying the stopgap funding bill in early May questioning the constitutionality of federal funding for historically black colleges and universities.
Other issues that the CBC had hoped to have addressed by now include criminal justice reform and voting rights.
I’ve heard a lot of good arguments for criminal justice reform, and I can agree that’s an issue that needs to be taken up.
As for voting rights, I’m not sure where they want to take that, unless they want to push for the return of voting rights for felons – something Democrats hold dear, mainly because such a large portion of their constituency are felons.
I get that the CBC have issues they want addressed, and they have every right to be heard. I also get they don’t want to be used for a photo-op. That being said, they can’t refuse to meet with the president, in total, and still maintain the right to complain that he isn’t listening to them.