By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
In a scathing open letter to President Donald Trump, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) criticized the commander-in-chief for his response to protests against racial injustice and police brutality and his administration’s attempts to jumpstart the failed War on Drugs.
Richmond reminded the president that 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 wrote.
Richmond continued: “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 your Administration.”
The Louisiana lawmaker recalled the meeting that CBC senior leadership and President Trump held earlier this year, the 125-page policy paper that they delivered to the White House, and a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions about criminal justice reform.
“Not only did you 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 said. “For example, 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.”
Richmond also noted that the painful irony that Black drug users are treated as criminals while White opioid addicts receive a multi-million-dollar federal public health response was not lost on the Black community.
During a recent interview on Fox News, President Donald Trump said that the NFL should have suspended quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem.
“The NFL should have suspended him for one game and he would have never done it again,” said Trump. “They could have then suspended him for two games and they could have suspended him again, if he did it a third time, for the season, and you would never have had a problem.”
In June, the CBC announced in a letter they would not meet with Trump after the President proposed meeting with the CBC on a quarterly basis. The CBC declined the offer, because the President was non-responsive to the CBC’s initial communications.
“When we met [in March], you claimed you cared for our communities,” wrote Richmond. “At the time, we provided solutions that you could have discussed with us in order to prove that you were not just blowing smoke.”
CBC members have not met with the president, as a group, since that meeting in March, when seven members sat down with Trump and Vice President Pence at the White House. Individual CBC members have said that they would meet with the president to discuss the needs of their constituents.
The letter closed urging the president to read the documents that the CBC shared with him earlier this year and to give serious thought to addressing the underlying concerns that give rise to the demonstrations that the president found so disgraceful.
Lauren Victoria Burke is the White House Correspondent for the NNPA Newswire, author and political analyst. Lauren is a frequent guest of “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin. Connect with Lauren by email at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke.