RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Caygle writes: "Members of the Congressional Black Caucus say they're bracing for the worst in Donald Trump, fearing a presidency that could set minorities back decades."

Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus suggested challenging Donald Trump on his home turf - Twitter - while others advocated nonviolent protests reminiscent of the civil rights movement. (photo: Getty Images)
Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus suggested challenging Donald Trump on his home turf - Twitter - while others advocated nonviolent protests reminiscent of the civil rights movement. (photo: Getty Images)


Black Pols Plan Trump Resistance

By Heather Caygle, Politico

02 January 17

 

'Our community is counting on us as the last line of defense between Donald Trump and the worst of what America could offer,' one African-American lawmaker says.

fter eight years of the nation’s first African-American president, black lawmakers were in for an adjustment no matter who won the White House.

But members of the Congressional Black Caucus say they’re bracing for the worst in Donald Trump, fearing a presidency that could set minorities back decades.

Leaders of the group told POLITICO they have already begun discussing strategies to deal with Trump and any policies they believe would disenfranchise African-Americans — from public school funding to low-income housing to voting restrictions. Though the president-elect’s supporters call the alarm unwarranted, black lawmakers say Trump’s campaign and his Cabinet picks more than justify their concern.

“The stakes are incredibly high and our community is counting on us as the last line of defense between Donald Trump and the worst of what America could offer,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said.

“This is not the normal incoming president,” added Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). “We had no plan for George Bush. I think Charlie Rangel and John Conyers would tell you they didn’t even have a plan for Richard Nixon. But this is not the norm.”

Incoming CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) is expected to outline his priorities for the new administration when he officially takes the reins of the caucus on Tuesday. Some members suggested challenging Trump on his home turf — Twitter — while others advocated nonviolent protests reminiscent of the civil rights movement.

Trump has tried at times to appeal to the African-American community. He talked about “a new deal for black America” on the campaign trail and predicted his plans to revive the economy would pay big dividends for minorities.

But Trump also often showed a deep misunderstanding of the socioeconomic makeup of black America and at times touted wildly inaccurate claims about African-American poverty and employment levels. His appeal to black voters for their support — “What the hell do you have to lose?” he said at one August rally in Michigan — was offensive to many.

Trump proposed blanket policies targeting ethnic and minority groups, like banning Muslims and building a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants. And he was at the forefront of the “birther movement," which CBC members viewed as a racially motivated attempt to delegitimize the nation's first African-American president.

"The campaign that we saw over the last 12 months is very frightening. And there’s been no effort on his part to even temper his comments since being elected,” said outgoing CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). "It’s going to be very contentious, I suspect, if Mr. Trump even follows through on half of his promises during the campaign."

Still, Trump's African-American supporters, such as South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, say it's too early to judge what he'll do as president.

“What I say to folks is, 'Let’s give Mr. Trump a chance. Let's gauge progress in his administration by what he does,” Scott said on "Face the Nation" earlier this month. “My hope is that what we’ll do over time is we’ll see that progress has not been stymied under a Trump administration, but we’ll see that it has prospered.”

Robert Johnson, the billionaire businessman who founded Black Entertainment Television and backed Hillary Clinton, has also preached the same open-minded message.

I think the Congressional Black Caucus members and African-American voters in general should see this as an opportunity to engage President-elect Trump and his administration,” Johnson, who has spoken positively about Trump since meeting with him after the election, said in an interview.

“Being afraid and fearful is an emotion. It’s not a strategy to increase black political gains, economic gains and social gains,” he added.

Johnson said the CBC and black voters should use their leverage as a voting bloc to work with Trump instead of always toeing the Democratic line and being taken for granted by party leaders.

“Whether you’ve got a Harvard degree or a high school degree, [African-Americans] vote one way — Democrat, Democrat, Democrat,” Johnson said. “We are voting as if one party is our permanent friend and the other party is our permanent enemy.”

But more than a half-dozen CBC members interviewed for this story expressed serious unease, especially with some of Trump’s Cabinet choices.

“We speak for vulnerable people, we speak for the disenfranchised — and we take that seriously,” Richmond said. “And those appointments seem to be tone-deaf to sensitivity and to, I think, just common sense.”

Among the figures chosen to join Trump's inner circle whom lawmakers called unsettling are Jeff Sessions, the Alabama senator and prospective attorney general who was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 over allegations of racism; and Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior adviser who until joining the campaign led Breitbart, the far-right website that appeals to white nationalists. (Bannon does not require Senate confirmation.)

“The appointments should concern not just minorities but all Americans,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). “When you look at Sessions, I mean he doesn’t have the most stellar reputation for civil rights and voting rights. It’s rough.”

Since his nomination, Sessions and his allies have worked to revamp his reputation into that of a longtime civil rights champion.

It’s not just Sessions and Bannon who present concerns for black lawmakers. Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to lead the Education Department, is a school-choice advocate who has championed voucher programs, which Obama and other Democrats argue siphon money away from public schools.

And Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate, has been tapped to lead the Housing and Urban Development Department, an area with which he has little, if any, pertinent experience.

“Ben Carson, DeVos, the education nominee, those just don’t fly in the face of good governing,” Richmond said. “And to the extent that they’re going to be there, we’re going to fight.”

Trump’s transition team did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

CBC members wouldn’t rule out working with Trump on potential areas of common ground. A big infrastructure package is one possibility. But lawmakers say those policy agreements are likely to be few and far between.

Civil rights leaders also are monitoring Trump’s Cabinet picks closely.

National Urban League President Marc Morial and leaders of several other prominent civil rights groups sent a public message to Trump shortly after the election, calling on him to “abandon the divisive rhetoric and policy proposals of his campaign.”

Trump has done little to allay those worries, Morial said.

“I think the concern is that he has a cozy relationship with racist and white supremacist elements,” Morial said, adding the apprehension extends beyond Cabinet selections to Trump's imminent Supreme Court nominee and other judicial appointments. “No one should downplay the sense of concern, the sense of fear," he added.

Still, with Republicans controlling the Senate and Cabinet nominees requiring a simple majority for approval, there’s little Democrats can do to stop Trump from filling his agencies with whomever he wants. That means his Democratic critics will have to devise other ways to push back when they disagree with his actions.

“We’ve dealt with loud, bombastic people our entire life. Ask our seniors and elders who went through the segregation in the civil rights movement,” Richmond said. “We’ll just go back to that fight and remember tactics from those days. But the one thing that will be clear is we’re going to have to be unified and we’re going to have to be focused and very strategic.”


e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+18 # DongiC 2017-01-02 19:14
Get ready to fight, folks, it is going to be like the days of the civil rights movement. Trump's cabinet has got some real mean dudes on it, They won't go without a big fight.
 
 
+7 # grandlakeguy 2017-01-03 00:28
My advice to the Congressional Black Caucus:

BLOW THE LID OFF OF THE MYTH THAT AMERICAN ELECTIONS ARE LEGITIMATE!

The Democrats won't talk about it, the journalists are afraid of it but you know it to be true. The way to change things is to let the world know that the legitimacy of EVERY elected official is suspect and will be until the day comes that we have real elections instead of the election theater that Americans have been accepting for far too long.
 
 
-1 # Robbee 2017-01-03 21:30
Quoting DongiC:
Get ready to fight, folks, it is going to be like the days of the civil rights movement. Trump's cabinet has got some real mean dudes on it, They won't go without a big fight.

- everyone needs a personal plan to deal with our corruptor-in-ch ief!
 
 
-16 # MidwestTom 2017-01-02 23:47
Trump asking Chicago to ask for Federalassistan ce with the killings there, does not sound like he is abandoning the Blacks.
 
 
+2 # pegasus4508 2017-01-03 13:36
So, you think Chicago should be militarized? trump and his entire cabinet hate all folks not WHITE, Male and Rich. Get over it. Since trump knows nothing about government, I am sure he did offer to help the poor, terrified negroes. It is all for show since he also selected Jeff Beauregard Sessions to be attorney general. Deeds matter - words ain't shit.
 
 
-2 # HowardMH 2017-01-03 13:40
Yep!! He is definitely for the blacks just like Obama the Cowardly Wimp has been for the last 8 years.
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2017-01-03 17:37
No, he's worse than Obama. Obama was to timid to take a stand. Trump is openly hostile.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN