President Trump is trying, perhaps more than any other Republican president in history, to reach out to the African-American community.
While some black leaders have acknowledged this, such as BET founder Bob Johnson, for others nothing Trump does will ever be enough.
Last Monday and Tuesday found Trump and senior administration officials in meetings with numerous representatives from the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCU).
While the meeting ended with a shift of the HBCU Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House as well as directions to improve infrastructure, boost HBCUs by working with the private sector, assist students with job opportunities, and work with high schools on access to the colleges, Morehouse College President John Wilson Jr. expected so much more.
In a statement to his school’s students highlighted by the Huffington Post, Wilson wrote that he had “high hopes” for the meetings at first, but the meetings did not live up to his expectations.
“In general, the meetings were a troubling beginning to what must be a productive relationship,” Wilson wrote.
Instead of doing “more for HBCUs than any other president has done before,” such as additional funding or new tax incentives, the “key change is a symbolic shift of the White House HBCU Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House.”
The Huffington Post reported that Wilson was expecting upwards of $500 million in additional funding. After all, former President Obama provided over $4 billion during his tenure.
In a portion sharply critical of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ statement calling HBCUs “real pioneers when it comes to school choice,” a statement she has since walked back, Wilson said that the schools “were not created because the 4 million newly freed blacks were unhappy with the choices they had. They were created because they had no choices at all. [I]f one does not understand the crippling and extended horrors of slavery, then how can one really understand the subsequent history and struggle of African Americans, or the current necessities and imperatives that grow out of that history and struggle?”
However, Wilson did write of DeVos, “From listening to her carefully for the last two days, I get the strong sense that she wants to get this job right.”
President Trump will no doubt keep trying, but a certain segment of African-American leadership will always be angling for more, no matter what.
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
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