One thing you have to admit about Donald J. Trump, he’ll say what others won’t. When Mr. Trump inquisitively and sincerely asked black Americans what they had to lose by voting for him, you got the sense he really meant it. You’d also have to imagine it didn’t sit well with Congressman Cedric Richmond and his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. Trump was calling out black leaders like Richmond and President Obama on the miserable job they’ve been doing for their constituents.
Mr. Trump said what most Republicans would dare not for fear of being labeled racist. But the truth is the Democrat Party and black leaders in that party have failed and failed big time when it comes to advancing the plight of black Americans. Maybe Mr’s Trumps’ willingness to call them out is why Mr. Richmond and his fellow caucus members have the audacity to refuse to even meet with him.
“Through an objective assessment, we see no evidence that your administration acted on our calls for action, and we have in fact witnessed steps that will affirmatively hurt black communities,” caucus chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, who all too frequently uses his chairmanship as a vehicle for dumb actions and statements, wrote in a letter rejecting the president’s June 9 offer.
One of the issues black caucus members raised was Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ order that prosecutors pursue maximum penalties in drug cases. Black caucus members claim the practice disproportionately targets minority offenders. But what black caucus members will not tell you is the vast majority of those killed or shot by drug dealers are also disproportionately black. I guess for Richmond it’s not the victim, but the drug dealers he’s worried about.
You would think being from New Orleans and seeing first hand the out of control gang violence there Congressman Richmond would want to see drug dealers, many of them gang members, get the maximum sentence.
What are Mr. Richmond and his fellow black caucus members so afraid of by meeting with Trump? The vast majority of black Americans continue to support Democrats like Richmond although Mr. Trump did make some head way with his run for president. President Obama won the black vote by 91 points his first run and 87 points his second while Ms. Clinton only won by 80 points against Mr. Trump among black voters.
With eight years of President Obama black voters lost ground in just about every category. Those struggling under the poverty line went up but real median income among black households dropped while the number of black food-stamp participants exploded by more than 50 percent. And the number of black homeowners dropped under Mr. Obama. Even after eight years of Obama the black unemployment rate is still twice that of white unemployment.
Democrats like Cedric Richmond claim to fight for black Americans but what they are doing isn’t working. Big cities like Chicago, Detroit, and New Orleans have been run by Democrats for decades and gang violence is out of control. And after eight years of a Democrat President black Americans have made little progress when it comes to economic growth, combating poverty, unemployment, and dependency on government.
It seems to me if anyone should be refusing to meet with anyone it’s President Trump who should refuse to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus. They’ve failed and have been grossly incompetent. To Mr. Richmond and his fellow caucus members I would say this. What have you got to lose by meeting with Trump?
Dan Fagan is a former television news reporter, journalism professor, newspaper columnist, and radio talk show host. He grew up in New Orleans and currently lives there. He is a regular contributor for The Hayride. If you have a news tip for Mr. Fagan you can reach him at [email protected] or 504-458-2542.