Trump tries again with Congressional Black Caucus

Almost three months after President Trump tried to mend fences with African American members of Congress at the White House, Mr. Trump is once again trying to restart talks with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). 

Mr. Trump’s adviser Omarosa Manigault sent a letter to the CBC on June 9, inviting all members of the CBC back to the White House for a follow up meeting to “discuss issues pertinent to your members.” 

A copy of the invitation was provided to CBS News by a Capitol Hill source.

It’s unclear what specifically Mr. Trump wants to discuss, but, according to the letter, the meeting was requested directly by the president. A meeting has not yet been scheduled.

In the initial March 22 meeting, the CBC raised issue with Mr. Trump’s budget outline and the GOP healthcare plan.

Despite their differences, Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond described the meeting as “a positive first start.” Both parties, at the time, agreed to meet on a routine basis going forward.

Since then, the White House has rolled out fuller versions of both proposals — which include budget cuts that would disproportionately impact African Americans.

A source inside the CBC was skeptical about the latest invitation, saying, “We’re willing to engage with the president, but it has to be a substantive policy discussion, not a photo op.”

“The caucus has been quite clear that the policy proposals of this administration, from cutting early childhood education funding to dismantling the Affordable Care Act, would cause great harm to African American communities across the nation,” the source added.

Mr. Trump’s outreach to African American community leaders has resulted with more photo ops than actual results.

Presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) met with Mr. Trump at the end of February, when he signed an executive order that moved an HBCU task force into the White House from the Department of Education.

The college presidents sought a 5 to 10 percent increase in funding for black schools during the meeting. But Mr. Trump’s recently released budget proposal revealed no new funding for the schools, despite signals otherwise. 

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