President Trump held his first solo press conference on Thursday ostensibly to announce that Alexander Acosta was his pick for Labor Secretary to replace Andrew Puzder after he withdrew his nomination. But after briefly mentioning Acosta's credentials, Trump began taking questions, of which there were many.
When Trump was asked by journalist April Ryan, who is black, about whether he intended to include the Congressional Black Caucus in crafting a plan for inner cities, Trump replied, "Well, I would, I tell you that. Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?"
Those watching the press conference live responded in disbelief, for the most part, but the CBC jumped at the opportunity to remind the president of the letter they sent him on Jan. 19, the day before his inauguration.
"Hi, @realDonaldTrump. We're the CBC. We sent you a letter on January 19, but you never wrote us back. Sad!" The CBC posted on Twitter, along with a link to a copy of the letter.
During his campaign, Trump often misrepresented issues facing urban areas, and spoke often of how he could "fix" them. Coupled with the rest of his rhetoric, Trump was unpopular with African American politicians, and his attack on Rep. John Lewis, a champion of the civil rights movement, further soured the relationship.
Even as many members of the CBC had planned to skip the inauguration ceremony, they made sure to invite President Trump to "engage in an earnest effort to work together on these issues" as stated in their letter, which they allege went unanswered. The CBC's letter was straightforward, touching on education, police brutality, racist extremism, and criminal justice reform, among other issues.
After the press conference on Thursday, Trump also appeared to assign responsibility to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for the cancellation of a scheduled meeting with former CBC chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings. In a later statement addressing that bit, Cummings said, "Of course, Senator Schumer never told me to skip a meeting with the President."
Ryan also responded on Twitter that she was a journalist, "not a convener."
She later tweeted that the White House has reached out to the CBC to set up a meeting, although a date has not yet been settled on.
It's no secret that white Americans make up the vast majority of Trump's support base, and the flippancy with which he addresses African Americans has frustrated many people. But the CBC's quick reminder to the president was a good move, and as it now seems likely that the two parties will meet, perhaps Trump will finally work with the CBC to address these issues as he so often vows to do.