BY JULIAN PHILLIPS
Like most of President Trump’s roll-outs in his first two weeks in office, his White House gathering of African Americans to salute Black History Month was a little rough to say the least!
For starters, not knowing that the world’s best known abolitionist died in the 1800s was a laugher. Perhaps even worse, his gathering of Black ‘supporters’ for the press availability left a lot to be desired.
Let’s forget about the fact that he had to be introduced to more than half of them—and who were these folk? The best known individual on hand was conservative political commentator Armstrong Williams, he himself not a household name in the African American community.
Going back in time, I’ll call them Trump’s version of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus—a rap star, comedian, football Hall of Famer (I love you Jim!), and the clown Ringmaster himself, Don King, all summoned to Trump Tower to presumably talk about the state of Black America. Really?!
What about some politicians and community leaders who have devoted a lifetime to civil rights and substantive change? Rep. Elijah Cummings says he’s open to meeting with Trump. I can assume there must be others.
Rest assured there are some black politicians that might not want that optic—but many will certainly meet him behind closed doors. Here’s the thing: Trump wants to make good on his campaign promises. How could the ‘messiah’—the reformer of all of America’s ills — not deliver, especially to his African Americans?
Remember we are ‘his’ as he yelled out to that one polka dot in a sea of Whites during a campaign stop as “My African American.”
The fact of the matter is, from building a wall to telling Blacks they have “nothing to lose” by voting for him, this president wants all the glory! He simply can’t help himself.
So what should he do for Black History Month? Trump should invite to the White House Black America’s best movers and shakers from the business world, law enforcement, the political arena and grass roots community leaders and, yes, the Rev. Al Sharpton for a summit.
Something good just might come out of it. Remember, Sir Donald wants to look good. He would have to wind up adopting some proposals thrown at him. At the very least, he might form a commission or something to that effect to seem like he is actually committed to taking action.
To bring it all home, here’s something those network TV executives should do to make it interesting: propose doing a town hall with Trump and Black leaders to be aired in prime time. Can you imagine how many folks would tune in!
From the Alt Right to the Black Lives Matter movement, popcorn and chicken wings would be flying off the store shelves from folks waiting to plop in front of their flat screens for such an event! In what would guarantee to be a lively discussion, folks would want to see who blinks first! Again, maybe something good just might come out of it.
Just some advice from a black guy.
Julian Phillips is an Emmy Award-winning news anchor.