Comedian and television host Steve Harvey says he regrets agreeing to meeting with Donald Trump during the presidential transition, but not because of any message of solidarity with the administration it might have conveyed. Instead, Harvey regrets the meeting because of the "vicious" backlash he experienced from the Left.
Harvey expressed his regret to The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Tuesday in which he described the personal and racist nature of many of the attacks on him for agreeing to meet with the president-elect a few days before his inauguration.
Asked about his meeting with Trump on January 17, 2017, Harvey winced and said, "I didn't see that coming. Jesus." Pressed to explain further, he said, "The backlash."
"It was so vicious that it really threw me," said Harvey. "I was being called names that I've never been called: Uncle Tom. A coon. A sellout. Because I went to see this man?!"
The comedian went on to explain that the meeting only took place "because my business partner got a call from the Obama transition team, who said that the Trump transition team would like to set up a meeting. The Obama team said they thought it would be a good idea because the president is encouraging dialogue. And I have a relationship with Obama."
He noted that his wife told him to skip the meeting because he was supposed to go on a boat for his 60th birthday. "God, I should've listened," he said.
As for what he and Trump discussed in the meeting, Harvey said he tried to be real honest with him, even admitting he voted for Hillary Clinton:
We talked about golf for 20 minutes. And then I told him, "Mr. President, I'm going to be honest with you, I didn't vote for you. I campaigned very hard for Hillary Clinton." And I said, "The problem was that we made a lot of mistakes in the campaign. We were playing checkers and y'all was playing chess. But now that you're here, you're the 45th president and I'm going to help you." He wants to know how, so I say, "You've appointed Ben Carson as the head of Housing and Urban Development, and I've got keys to a lot of cities around this country from the years of performing that I've done. I can get an ear to them really quick and find out what their real needs are. Y'all keep closing schools in the cities. Why don't we take those schools that are closing, put some HUD money in them, and reopen them as vision centers and teach STEM and computers and coding? If you connect me with Ben Carson, I can help him with that." A few minutes later, he had Ben Carson on the phone.
Asked if anything had come of his contact with Dr. Carson, Harvey said he's been to HUD twice and has met with Caron and "we're actually trying to get it started."
"We've had meetings, and now we're just waiting on the final notes," he said. "We have several teams in place. Hopefully before the year goes out, we'll be making the announcement about the first vision center."
When the interviewer asked if he was keeping in touch with Trump, Harvey said, "No, I haven't talked to him since."
After the backlash from the Left, it's no wonder he didn't dare associate himself further with the president.
Amid the flood of racist outrage over his one and only meeting with Trump, Harvey issued a statement that stressed that "our president (Obama)" had asked him to attend:
'Cause they don't get it. And it's not that they're racist. It's that they, the people who greenlight shows, sit in an office in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Studio City, and they make decisions about America and none of them live there. And they've got to put everything in a category. "Blacks would like this. This is a black show." I think Black-ish is the first black show that hasn't had to put a white character on it. It's amazing how they think out here. And America's not that way at all.