Trump and the Black Press

4/21/2017, 7:01 a.m.
At the very beginning of the new administration, and probably in a moment of hubris, Omarosa Manigault, an aide to ...

“I could not in good conscience take the money,” she explained during a private dinner I attended last year with a group of black journalists.

President Trump and most African-Americans are off to a terrible start, not surprising given the heavy black vote against him and the atrocious gaffes he and his appointees continue to make regarding non-white folks. Given his actions and appointees thus far, black people have reason for deep distrust.

The few occasions of personal contact between President Trump and African- Americans have been awkward and/or disastrous enough to assume he will keep such interaction to a minimum. During a White House meeting last month, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland told President Trump that “his language describing African-American communities has been ‘hurtful’ and ‘insulting.’ ”

Black media have kept up a constant drumbeat against the Trump administration. We can expect that to continue and possibly intensify. One issue sure to bubble up repeatedly — meetings with President Trump. As a former colleague at The New York Times, E.R. Shipp, wrote in The Baltimore Sun:

“So with nuts, neophytes and revisionists running the Trump asylum, one might wonder why 70 or so presidents, chancellors and advocates for historically black colleges and universities — HBCUs — accepted a ‘getting-to-know-you’ White House invitation.”

I suspect the same sentiment will apply to members of the black media, if they’re ever invited to meet with the president.

The writer is a veteran print journalist who worked for the Baltimore Afro-American and the Atlanta Daily World before spending 23 years at The New York Times. He served as chairman of the journalism department at the University of Alabama from 1992 to 1996 and is currently working on a memoir.