President Donald Trump has a minority problem.
In a period of just 24 hours, Trump managed to insult the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) with his ignorance and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) with his defiance.
It all began at a press conference, in which he was asked by American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan about including the CBC in his plans for inner cities. Trump has mentioned on many occasions that he plans to ‘get tough’ on inner cities like Chicago, where he believes African-Americans mainly dwell. So the question of including the largest Black delegation of Congress in these executive orders is apropos.
“Are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner city agenda, as well as….” Ryan says.
“Am I gonna include?” Trump interrupts her. Ryan repeats, “Are you going to include the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus…”
Cutting her off again, he says, “Well, I would. I tell you what, would you want to set up the meeting? Do you want to set up the meeting?”
“No, no, no,” she notes. “I’m just a reporter.”
“Are they friends of yours?” Trump asks. “Set up the meeting.” “I know some of them, but I’m sure they’re watching right now,” Ryan says.
“Let’s go, let’s set up a meeting with the Black Caucus. I think it’s great, the Congressional Black Caucus. I think it’s great,” he says.
There are two problems here: First, being the leader of the free world means knowing who the CBC is. Sorry, it’s just basic qualifications for the job.
Second, telling—not asking or subtly indicating—but outright commanding a female seasoned journalist to schedule a meeting like she’s his personal secretary is incredibly demeaning, insulting, misogynistic and simple-minded. Trump projected his ignorance and clear bias against Ryan in the form of authority (like so many White men before him).
But instead of owning up to his ignorance, his administration proceeded to dig deeper.
Later that same day, just hours after the Ryan incident, two members of the CHC were asked to leave a meeting between lawmakers and the country’s top immigration enforcement official.
As reported by The Hill, Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.) were asked to leave the room, while several other members of the CHC were not allowed into the meeting with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting Director Tom Homan.
“By refusing me access to information, they are essentially stealing from my constituents the right to be represented,” Torres said at the impromptu press conference.
The saddest part is, none of this is a surprise.
Trump’s entire campaign, and really his entire life, has been about intimidation through oversight. Not including minorities in a conversation about minorities is the smartest way to make the worst decisions. And to include the CBC and CHC in policy making would only embolden them to seek rights for their communities.
One cannot claim Trump is for the people, when the people are disregarded. One cannot claim Trump cares, when he so blatantly doesn’t. And one definitely cannot claim Trump is suited to run this country, if he’s not open to every single organizing body that has a rightful voice in the future of this land.