President Donald Trump met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Wednesday, more than two months after the bloc of African-American elected officials sent him a letter with a list of demands they wanted addressed following his inauguration. Vice President Mike Pence was also there for the meeting, which at least one CBC member reportedly seemed to describe as being somewhat encouraging.
However, the overall tenor of the meeting may have been a bit more tense, according to White House correspondent April Ryan, who tweeted that multiple CBC members arrived to the White House equipped with books entitled, "We Have a Lot To Lose." The book title was an obvious nod to then-candidate Trump's rhetorical campaign appeal to black people during a Michigan rally in August, asking "What the hell do you have to lose" by casting ballots for him.
Other topics of discussion included CBC members urging the president to work toward "a pathway out of poverty," investing in infrastructure in urban environments, policy on crime and the immigration travel ban that targets multiple Muslim-majority countries.
As the meeting got underway, Trump told the CBC members that he was "deeply honored" to welcome them to the White House and promised an increasing number of meetings moving forward, according to remarks released by the White House.
"Throughout my campaign, I pledged to focus on improving conditions for African American citizens," Trump said Wednesday. "This means more to me than anybody would understand or know. Every American child has a right to grow up in a safe community, to attend great schools, to graduate with access to high-paying jobs."
The CBC sent Trump a letter the day before he was inaugurated addressing his campaign promises to black America and laying out several points it said the president must make a priority.
"If you are serious about addressing issues in the African-American community, you would be wise to tap into the decades of expertise held by Members of our Caucus," the letter, signed by the chair of the CBC, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.), said in part.