President Trump held a White House roundtable meeting on Thursday to discuss the positive steps the administration has taken toward helping members of the black community.
During the meeting, Jack Brewer, a professor at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University and former NFL player, told Trump that the president had inspired him to abandon the Democratic Party.
“I ran the NFL players for Obama, I’ve been a Democrat all my life … and you changed me, you changed me, you touched me, and you made my work go to another level, you inspire me,” said Brewer. Later in the meeting, Brewer dropped this line: “Mr. President, I don’t mean to interrupt, but I’ve got to say this because it’s Black History Month: Man, you the first black president.”
After the remark, the room burst into applause. The remark echoed similar comments made earlier in the meeting, when two different members of the roundtable called Trump the best president since Abraham Lincoln.
According to RealClearPolitics, during an episode of “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon, commentator Keith Boykin said the event was unserious, and condemned the president’s outreach to the black community.
“He’s been president for almost four years now, and he’s never made a single visit to a black community to attend a black event,” said Boykin. “For g*ds sake, he hasn’t even gone to the black community in Washington D.C., he hasn’t gone to the black community in New York, in Harlem, or in Brooklyn where he lived.”
“The idea that anybody would sit in the room with Donald Trump and call him the first black president, after we had Barack Obama as the president of the United States, shows just what kind of Uncle Toms were sitting in that room in the first place,” Boykin told Lemon, who audibly cringed. “That’s ridiculous. It’s an outrage that anyone would sit in that room and say something like that.”
During the meeting, Trump offered a story about helping students who attend historically black colleges and universities, a story he said that “the press doesn’t write about.”
“Every year, a group of wonderful people from the Black colleges and universities, would come up to my office – a lot of people, forty, thirty-five, fifty, [during] one year – and after the second year I said, ‘How come you keep coming back,’” asked Trump.
“One of the gentlemen, who is a great guy from one of the schools, good school, very good school, he said ‘we come back because we have to,’” recalled Trump. “‘They want us to come back every single year, they want us to beg.’ He used that word.”
Last year, Trump signed a bill authorizing over $250 million for minority-serving colleges and universities, including $85 million for historically black colleges, reports the Associated Press.
“When I took office, I promised to fight for HBCUs, and my administration continues to deliver,” Trump said at the time. “A few months ago, funding for HBCUs was in jeopardy, but the White House and Congress came together and reached a historic agreement.”