Accusing Donald Trump of trafficking in policies harmful to African Americans, the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday (June 21) unanimously rejected an White House invitation to meet with the president.
“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, wrote in a letter rejecting the president’s June 9 offer.
The caucus took issue with several policies of the Trump administration, including:
- A $4 billion cut to the Pell Grant program for low-income students to attend college
- The elimination of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which aids the poor and elderly heat and cool their homes.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ order that prosecutors pursue maximum penalties in drug cases, a practice that has been shown to disproportionately target minority offenders
- Questioning the efficacy of federal funding for historically black colleges and universities
- proposed restrictions to Medicaid and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act
Trump, through his aide and former reality-TV star Omarosa Manigault, had invited all 49 members of the caucus to The White House. Several members saw it as a publicity stunt; a photo op for Trump.
Others objected to Manigault calling herself “the Honorable,” even though she does not hold a position usually associated with that title.