The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is reportedly prepared to refuse an invitation to meet with President Donald Trump.
According to Politico, four sources close to the caucus said the group feels that Trump has done nothing to help advance their goals since the executive board met with him back in March. Therefore, they don’t believe meeting with him now would amount to much more than a photo-op for the president.
"No one wants to be a co-star on the reality show,” a senior Democratic aide reportedly said.
One of Trump’s token black staffers, Omarosa Manigault — whose claim to fame was being a former contestant on Trump’s reality show, “The Apprentice” — sent an invitation out to each of the 49 members of the CBC and signed it “the Honorable Omarosa Manigault.” Her signature did not sit well with members of the CBC who feel she hasn’t earned such a notable title.
Additionally, she touts herself as an unofficial liaison to the caucus but hasn’t raised a finger to help bring the group’s issues further up on the White House’s list of priorities.
Although the group is expected to decline the president’s invitation, CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana) isn’t set to make an official announcement on the group’s behalf until they formally discuss it during their weekly meeting on Wednesday.
Along with logistical concerns surrounding the meeting, the group has some political reservations. Because of the president’s affinity for bending the truth, the caucus wants to avoid taking a photo with him that Trump could potentially use to claim that the group has expressed unanimous support for him.
“How do you get 30-plus members into a room having a meeting and make it meaningful,” one of the unnamed sources said, according to Politico.
One of the major ways that Trump ruffled the CBC’s feathers is by failing to follow through with his commitment to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) after his highly publicized and controversial meeting with leaders from these institutions during Black History Month.
Not only did his budget proposal fail to include any additional funding for HBCUs, but Trump issued an infuriating statement in May with the stopgap funding bill that questioned the constitutionality of federal funding for these predominantly black schools.
“For a president who pledged to reach out to African-Americans and other minorities, this statement is stunningly careless and divisive,” Richmond and Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, previously said in a joint statement.
Trump also has not made any progress toward criminal justice reform or voting rights, which are two key issues the CBC values.
This isn’t the first time Trump has taken heat from the CBC. Back in February — after Trump made headlines for asking a black reporter if she’s “friends” with the caucus and if she could set up a meeting for him — members of the CBC blasted Trump for ignoring a letter they sent to him nearly a month prior and failing to reach out on his own.
The CBC sees right through Trump's schemes. If and when Richmond announces the group's decision to opt out of the meeting, it will send a very clear message that the CBC refuses to be used by the president as a pandering tool.