Trump Reaching Out to HBCUs?

Race and Politics

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On the first day of Black History Month, Donald Trump assembled a group of, “the Blacks,” (Trump’s enduring description of Black people), for a BHM breakfast get together. The gathering of Trump sycophants and supporters included, HUD Secretary (!)  Dr. Ben Carson (who Trump once likened to a pedophile), right-wing pundit Armstrong “I’m honored to have a seat at the table,” Williams, Pastor Darrell “gang thugs” Scott, and of course, Trump’s ride or die, Omarosa Manigaualt, whose official title in the Trump White House is director of communications for the Office of Public Liason.

Sean Yoes (Courtesy Photo)
Sean Yoes (Courtesy Photo)

Those assembled around Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on that first day of Black History Month, perhaps gave new meaning to the phrase, “House Negroes.” It was just Trump and his Blacks; not one academician, or Black history scholar, or president of a Historically Black College or University present to give the meeting, allegedly to honor the immeasurable contributions of Black Americans to this country, the slightest bit of gravitas or authenticity.

But, this has typically been Trump’s modus operandi his entire public life; “the Blacks” serving as a shadowy backdrop for whatever venture or social event on his narcissistic agenda on any given day, from Don King to Ray Lewis and Jim Brown.

So, the recent report that Trump wants to have a “major meeting” with presidents of HBCU’s towards the end of Black History Month seems dubious at best, but more likely just another stunt or BHM photo op with zero substance.

Still, TheGrio.com, is reporting a group of Republican leaders plan to meet with the heads of HBCU’s on Feb. 28, in an effort to “advance” HBCU’s. Allegedly, the meeting will be led by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker, whose wife Kelly Walker (who happens to be White) graduated from Winston Salem State University, an HBCU in North Carolina.

Rep. Walker recently talked about the impact of his wife’s education during an interview published by the Charlotte Observer.

“My wife of 24 years, she’s run a level one trauma center…she’s very proud of her degree,” said Walker. “You have some who come out with a degree, think about that, a nurse practitioner working at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, right there at the triad in Winston Salem, North Carolina. She does a great job and a lot of this is contributed to getting such a solid education.”

Walker went further, “She was very thankful to get even in the program at Winston Salem State University. I have to look at this, I guess from a perspective of how it’s impacted our family and to make sure people know that HBCU’s are doing great work,” Walker added.

Additionally, Buzzfeed is reporting Trump’s White House (allegedly spearheaded by Manigault) is crafting an executive order regarding HBCU’s, although the substance of that executive order is unknown at the moment.

However, if Trump does sit down with HBCU presidents in an official capacity, he would accomplish something (in about two months) President Obama didn’t achieve in eight years. To use one of Trump’s favorite words…sad.

One of most glaring critiques of President Obama by the Black community was his seemingly hands off approach to our treasured HBCU’s. During the Obama years several upper tier HBCU’s, such as Howard and Spellman teetered precariously because of fiscal hardships, while other schools, like Sojourner Douglass in Baltimore, closed all together.

The irony of Trump making inroads with the nation’s HBCU’s within the first 100 days of his administration, when the man whose presidency he fought to delegitimize seemed to be mostly missing in action when it came to Black colleges and universities is sickening.

Then again, is it really just a brutal twist of irony or a jarring, slap at the Obama legacy crafted perfectly by Trump and his minions?

Sean Yoes is a senior contributor for the AFRO and host and executive producer of AFRO First Edition, which airs Monday through Friday, 5-7 p.m. on WEAA 88.9.