White House

Trump to meet with Congressional Black Caucus after all

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Rep. Elijah Cummings, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Sunday that the group will indeed meet with President Trump

The Maryland Democrat told CBS' "Face the Nation" that Trump answered the caucus' Jan. 19 request for a meeting "a day or so ago” and that he expects a meeting will occur after Congress returns from a weeklong break.

Trump, whose political agenda includes trying to improving the lives of African American in crime-ridden city, said recently that he wanted to meet with Cummings but that Cummings canceled because such a meeting would be bad for him politically.

Cummings said in response: “I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did.”

The situation escalated Thursday when Trump, during a press conference, was asked by a black female reporter about the meeting, and he responded by asking her to set up a meeting.

CBC member Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.,  said later that he detected “an element of disrespect” in Trump’s comment to journalist April Ryan.

“He’s not going to ask any other reporter to do that for any other group, so why did he do that to her?” said Clyburn, also a member of the House Democratic leadership. “I think that was pretty instructive to me.”

When asked whether Trump was implying that all black people know each other, Clyburn said, “I don’t know what his implications were, but that’s my interpretation.”

The chairman of the CBC, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., issued a statement late Thursday saying the White House had reached out to schedule a meeting with the 49-member organization and discussions were underway about a possible date.

Ryan is a longtime White House reporter and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks.

She specifically asked Trump on Thursday whether he planned to include the CBC “in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner-city agenda.”

The president responded by asking Ryan whether the CBC are “friends of yours” and remarking, “I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?”

Ryan later tweeted “I am a journalist not a convener! But thank you for answering my questions.”

The CBC tweet that the group sent Trump a letter in January outlining areas where they could work together, “but you never wrote us back. Sad!”

The organization later issued a statement saying they were in talks with the White House about a possible meeting.

Richmond’s statement said it was remarkable that Trump had not responded to their letter.

“President Trump has been in office for almost a month and the Congressional Black Caucus -- which at a historic 49 members is almost a fourth of the House Democratic Caucus and represents millions of African-Americans -- did not hear from the White House until we introduced ourselves on Twitter after the White House press conference today,” Richmond wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.