Donald Trump has done it again. He just might be a master negotiator when it comes to his dealings with black people. He brings them to the table. Trump gets them to express themselves and their concerns. These so-called black “leaders” vent and get their frustrations off their chests. They buy into his perceived empathy. Trump walks away from the table not having to concede a single thing definitive. He does it again and again. Photo op. But black “leaders” continue to give him a pass holding on to white faith that a white savior lives and will come back.
On Aug 1. Donald Trump met with black pastors and lawmakers to discuss a most pressing issue: prison reform. He couldn’t miss an opportunity to tout his “successes” with a “booming economy” and a low unemployment rate plus a photo op. The optics would be great for his 2020 run. He claimed these successes would make it easier for former inmates to integrate back into society.
Let’s pause right there briefly. Ask any former inmate the top three things keeping them from finding work and I’m sure the state of the economy or the unemployment rate will not make the list. The most common obstacle inmates face is the felony identification on applications. Regardless of the type of felony or crime, it automatically casts a negative light on the applicant. Jobs that the person could be more than qualified for, aside from their stint in the big house, now are unattainable because of the felony distinction. The “booming economy” does nothing to alleviate that undue burden. Moving on.
“We have passed the First Step Act through the House and we are working to pass that into law, and I think we’ll be able to do it. When we say ‘hire American,’ we mean all Americans,” Donald Trump told the group.
To be fair, the First Step Act did make it through the House in May. Trump was president when it happened so by default he gets some of the credit. His empty words however, has garnered him the adoration and praise of black clergy calling him the most “pro-black president” ever. Move over Lincoln, Clinton, AND Obama. Donald Trump is white Jesus!
“This president actually wants to prove something to our community, our faith-based community and our ethnic community. The last president didn’t feel like he had to. He got a pass,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) “This is probably going to be… the most pro-black president I’ve seen in my lifetime.”
If Obama received a pass, it is because you and other black people in positions of leadership gave it to him, Mr. Scott!
At the end of the meeting, Trump is heralded for his works in the urban community and leadership praised for stimulating the economy. Another golden photo op moment.
On Aug 23. the Washington Free Beacon reported that Trump was backtracking on the First Step Act. The publication reports:
Following a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump has concluded that the FIRST STEP Act is too problematic to be worth pursuing at the present time, according to a senior administration official with direct knowledge of the meeting. The administration expects to revisit the proposal following the election, to assess whether it can chart a way forward for Trump’s prison reform goals.
The last photo op in the rearview mirror, a “concerned” Trump feels the bill is untenable in its current form. There is a legitimate fear of the immediate release of thousands of federal inmates due to the restructuring guidelines of the “good time” credit system outlined under the bill.
Trump walks away conceding nothing to black people except time and talk. But this has occurred before.
In another classic photo op for potus, presidents of HBCUs met with Trump and his administration in 2017. Trump made a series of promises. Leaders bought into the agenda that the Trump administration would do something to curtail the closing of historically black colleges and universities. Well, since that meeting, Concordia College announced they’re closing their doors. Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, the oldest historically black college in the nation, announced that they are in danger of closing their doors as well.
HBCUs are more prone to closure due to financing struggles. HBCUs tend to get less government funding and subsequently lower enrollment numbers. It is an issue that plagues both public and private HBCUs. The leaders met with Donald Trump hoping to secure funding for these places of higher learning. That has not occurred. Instead, the transfer of the White House HBCU Initiative from the U.S. Department of Education to the administration’s executive offices has been touted as a win. The leaders also claim that their concerns are registering with top administration officials.
Registering and effective tangible action are two different things.
The master negotiator again walked away from the table with black people leaving behind scraps. He snagged another photo op.
Trump 2020. It’s not as far-fetched as the idea of him winning the presidency.