By Hazel Trice Edney
CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D – La)
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Fresh on the heels of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Caucus, CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) has sent a letter to President Donald Trump expressing “utter disgust” with the way Trump has handled race relations.
“I write today to express my utter disgust with your handling of race relations in America in general and, more specifically, your calculated, divisive response to nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice by professional football players, owners, coaches, and countless other patriots,” Richmond wrote in a Sept. 27th letter. “African Americans are just as patriotic as any other American. We have fought in every war from the American Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan, only to come home to a country that has yet to reconcile deep-seated issues of race, inequality, and injustice.”
Richmond was referring to Trump’s calling NFL players “Sons of B—–s” if they protest racial injustice by kneeling or what is commonly called “taking a knee” during the National Anthem. It was a form of protest started by Colin Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, who was not able to get drafted this season because of his controversial stance.
The letter continues, “As President of the United States, your use of profane, sexually derogatory language in addressing American citizens, or anyone for that matter, is unbecoming of the office you now hold. Moreover, your complete lack of understanding of or empathy for the very painful history and substantive policy concerns that move people like Colin Kaepernick to take a stand, or a knee, in the first place is a reminder of all the African American community has to lose under Read More your Administration. Nonetheless, as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), an organization with the well-deserved reputation as the Conscience of the Congress, I feel obligated to yet again attempt to educate you and your Administration about the many problems facing our communities and how you can work with us to improve them.”
Trump’s past racial insensitivities are well known, including his insisting – without apology – that then President Barack Obama was from Kenya instead of Hawaii. But in his inaugural address he promised to represent all of America and to bring unity. Ever since then, CBC leaders have tried to sensitize him to and educate him about the issues of racial inequality in America.
“As you may recall, I, along with senior leadership within the CBC, met with you on March 22, 2017. In that meeting, we presented you with a 125-page policy book, as well as a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions from Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, the Dean of the House, and myself,” Richmond wrote. “Both the policy book and the letter to Attorney General Sessions provided much-needed insight into our legitimate concerns with the criminal justice system, racial profiling, and police brutality, among many other issues. Not only did you and Attorney General Sessions fail to respond to either document in any substantive way, your actions continue to suggest that our pleas for responsible policy solutions were completely disregarded.”
Richmond then listed several examples of the Trump Administration’s ignoring CBC policy advice pertaining to the Black community. They include:
Attorney General Sessions has initiated a second failed war on drugs that will wreck the Black community, an over-policed population, and only exacerbate our nation’s shameful mass incarceration problem.
Black drug users are treated as criminals while White opioid addicts receive a multi-million-dollar federal public health response.
Trump makes “racist dog whistles”, such as calling for “law and order” in underserved, neglected communities across America while concurrently encouraging police brutality.
“When we met, you claimed you cared for our communities. At the time, we provided you with several solutions that you could have discussed with us in order to prove that you were not just blowing smoke. Since our meeting, you have done nothing to help our communities and have taken affirmative actions that have harmed our communities,” Richmond wrote. “Almost everything you have done and said on the topic of race or on issues that implicate race demonstrate a shocking lack of knowledge for an adult public official in the 21st century.
Richmond concluded, “The actions taken by you and your Administration in the short time you have been in office have already caused serious harm to our constituents and the vulnerable communities for whom we speak.”