How Trump can bridge the racial divide


(CNN)On Tuesday, President Donald Trump honored Black History Month by visiting the newly-minted National Museum of African American History and Culture. Amid the fanfare and praise that Trump’s visit was “a step in the right direction,” one question still remains: Is he serious about fixing the racial divide in this country?

With a rise in anti-Semitic and racist incidents since the November election, the President has come under increasing pressure to respond. And given Trump’s comments on the sorry state of black America, he should feel an urgency to act. On the campaign trail, Trump often invoked the phrase “living in hell,” when describing US inner cities and the poverty and gun violence that often plagues black communities in them.




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Of course, Trump can’t go it alone. Omarosa Manigault, Trump’s director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, Dr. Ben Carson, Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development nominee and other black advisors need to do a better job preparing the President to speak on issues of diversity. They let him make a fool of himself by not knowing who Frederick Douglass was, or worse, how to get in touch with the CBC.
But there’s much more Trump can do to better serve African Americans. For example, he could go on an urban listening tour with HUD Secretary Ben Carson (once he is confirmed) and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Or he could make time to appear on black TV and radio networks and shows, like WHUR in DC, TV One, BET, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, etc.
He could engage with black college presidents, business leaders and state and local officials who can help him understand the realities on the ground and inform the policy recommendations he makes.

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And he could hire African-Americans with more political experience than former reality TV star Omarosa, who has no real alliances in the black community to help her succeed.
Ironically, Trump is a man who could probably be a decent president if he would settle down, take issues seriously and focus on the job at hand. The CBC could be an ally on HBCU and urban reform. In fact, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings and others from the CBC have indicated they are looking forward to meeting with the President and working with him.
Bottom line: If Trump wants to fix America’s great racial divide, he needs to stop being a roadblock to his own success.

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