President Donald Trump invited a number of HBCU leaders to the White House yesterday for a gathering Monday (Feb. 27) ahead of an executive order signing meant to address federal support given to those institutions. While the moment had the appearance of a feel-good attempt to cool the recent racial tensions between people of color and the new president, many viewed the meeting with a measurable amount of skepticism.
Several Historically Black College and University leaders were in attendance and gathered for a photo inside the Oval Office with President Trump. As part of his “New Deal for Black America” plan, Trump aims to sign an executive order today (Feb. 28) that will give financial boosts to the schools. Flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, the veep said that he and the president admired the HBCUs for their contributions to society.
Naturally, given the incendiary nature of Trump’s presidential campaign and the racist dialog it sparked, people are skeptical of this show of faith from the administration. Coupled with a photo of Trump aide Kellyanne Conway sitting on a couch nearby kneeling as if she’s at home in her den, the photo op just looked bizarre with the leaders surrounding a smiling Trump. However, it was explained that Conway was trying to get a better photo of the group but that photo was still published and the message it sent felt harmful to some.
Twitter had a field day with the photo and details of the meeting, with some wondering aloud how the leaders could even attempt to cross the bridge with Trump. And now it’s being revealed that whatever discussion that took place was held in a span of minutes and barely addressed the concerns of the HBCUs. More on that below.
Of course, there will always be a happy-go-lucky shoe-shine in the bunch only worried about getting ahead and not the concerns of his people but this just seems to be a little fishy on both sides. A bolder, more sensible stance would have been to ignore the invitation altogether until true needs were addressed but tap dancers gonna tap dance.
Check out some of the reactions to President Donald Trump’s HBCU leaders meeting in the Oval Office on the following pages.
Photo: White House