Leaders of National Black organizations, activists, and advocates met for a “listening session” with President-elect Donald Trump, supporter Omarosa Manigault, and other senior members from the Trump Presidential Transition Team (PTT) this week.
The meeting, set for Jan. 4 at the American Enterprise Institute in North West D.C., was invitation only, off the record and closed to the press, according to sources.
“This meeting will allow for an opportunity to briefly share your priority issues with the official Transition Team. To the extent that you would like to share brief policy papers on issues of importance to your organization, please do so either in advance of or immediately following the meeting,” said the letter of invitation that was emailed to heads of major national Black organizations and others Dec. 29. The invitation e-mail was sent from David Bentkowski of the PTT Office of Nationwide Engagement (ONE).
Despite Trump’s vitriolic style of campaigning, he has expressed a desire to “bring the country together” as president. He has also made specific promises to the Black community to “rebuild the inner cities.”
But civil rights leaders on a press call following Trump’s election took a wait and see approach on how they will respond when and if Trump reaches out for a meeting—especially after his appointment of Steve Bannon, founder of Breitbart News, the voice of the so-called ‘alt-right’ (known as White supremacists) as his chief advisor.
NAACP President/CEO Cornell William Brooks, is also protesting the Trump nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
“As a matter of conscience and conviction, we can neither be mute nor mumble our opposition to Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions becoming Attorney General of the United States,” Brooks said in a statement. “Sen. Sessions has callously ignored the reality of voter suppression but zealously prosecuted innocent civil rights leaders on trumped-up charges of voter fraud. As an opponent of the vote, he can’t be trusted to be the chief law enforcement officer for voting rights.”
Rev. Al Sharpton is holding a march to send Trump “a message” on Jan. 14.
Manigault, who could not be reached for comment, served as Trump’s director of African American Outreach during the campaign. She is a reality TV star and was one of Trump’s Apprentice contestants in 2004 and a Celebrity Apprentice contestant until April of 2013. Manigault has also become increasingly connected in civil rights communities in recent years. Manigault recently told Fox News that Trump would announce her official White House title this week. She has been quoted as saying the position will be “huge.”.