Congressional Black Caucus leaders and President Donald Trump met Wednesday for a policy discussion. This first meeting between Trump and the Black lawmakers came several weeks after he awkwardly asked a Black reporter at a press conference to set up the meeting.
“There were many areas where we disagreed with the policy solutions, but it was a meeting where both sides listened and where we were candid about disagreements,” Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), the caucus chair, said at a press conference after the meeting.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said they raised “several areas of concern” with the president, including his description of Black communities as “completely lawless,” proposed cuts to domestic programs that will harm low-income people, troubling positions on law enforcement and mass incarceration, and the “rolling back” of voting rights, ABC News reported.
Nevertheless, Bass said the meeting was a “positive first start,” according to the outlet.
Richmond said the two sides aligned on some policy issues, such as the need for safety in urban communities, and Trump appeared interested in meeting with them more consistently.
After the meeting, the CBC released a 130-page policy document, titled “We Have a Lot to Lose: Solutions to Advance Black Families in the 21st Century,” in which the caucus presents its policy solutions.
It answers the question Trump posed in his attempt to win Black votes: “What the hell do you have to lose?”
The caucus leaders may have learned a lesson from the Historically Black Colleges and University presidents’ meeting with Trump.
The Washington Post noted that the caucus leaders tried to avoid becoming a public relations photo-op for the Trump administration. They reportedly sat on the opposite side of the table from Trump, away from the cameras, when he gave his speech about the contributions of African-Americans to the nation.