Trump agrees to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus after a press conference flub.

There were plenty of highlights (and lowlights) from Trump's wild first solo press conference as president, but one moment in particular stood out.

Trump called on April Ryan, a reporter for American Urban Radio Networks, who asked if Trump planned to include the Congressional Black Caucus in discussions surrounding Trump's "inner city agenda."


"Well, I would. I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?" responded Trump. "Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours? Set up the meeting. Let's go. Set up a meeting."

While Ryan acknowledged that she does know some of the members of the CBC, she's a reporter, and setting up meetings between members of Congress and the president is not her job — at all.

What makes the whole situation even more bizarre is the fact that the CBC has been trying to set up a meeting with the president, even sending him a letter last month.

They took to the president's favorite medium, Twitter, to offer a reminder.

The group's five-page letter, offers a point-by-point response to the "New Deal for Black America" that Trump touted during the campaign, calling his plan "the same old 'Trickle Down' economics assumptions that didn’t work for our communities in the 1980’s or in the 2000’s when these failed experiments were tried before."

Still, the CBC indicated an interest in meeting with the president, ending the letter with a "sincere hope that [he] will accept this invitation to engage in an earnest effort to work together on these issues."

As Trump has a tendency to do, he placed blame on someone else. In this case, CBC member and 11-term Congressman Elijah Cummings.

"I actually thought I had a meeting with Congressman Cummings," Trump said. "And he was all excited and then he said, ‘Well, I can’t move, it might be bad for me politically. I can’t have that meeting.’ I was all set to have that meeting. We called him and called him and he was all set. ... But he was probably told: ‘Don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics.’ And that’s part of the problem with this country."

According to Cummings, that never happened. "I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today," he told the Washington Post.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

The entire encounter was a sight to behold, but at least something good seems to be coming out of it: The CBC is finally getting its meeting with Trump.

And yes, it was April Ryan who reported the story (it all comes full circle).

“For whatever reason, the letter the Congressional Black Caucus sent to then President-elect Trump and incoming White House officials on January 19 was not enough to get their attention,” Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana) said in a statement obtained by The Hill. "Since the White House has reached out in an appropriate manner to request a meeting with the caucus, I am now in discussions with them about setting one up."

While this situation seems to have resolved itself, this isn't a good look for Trump, who has a less than stellar record on race-related issues (to say the least).

Earlier this month, he delivered a bizarre Black History Month statement that included some bragging about his electoral victory (Trump received just an estimated 8% of the African-American vote) as well as a shoutout to Frederick Douglass, who Trump said, "is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice." (It's not entirely clear whether Trump realized that Douglass has been dead for more than 120 years.)

Trump delivers his Black History Month statement. Photo by Michael Reynolds/Getty Images.

Even if you set these aside as rhetorical flubs, there's a pattern of Trump lumping all black Americans together in one homogeneous group and suggesting that they all live in "inner cities." This kind of stereotyping is wrong, it's offensive, and it doesn't help support Trump's own assertion that he's the "least racist person" you've ever seen.

So yeah, meeting with black leaders in Congress is a start. Let's hope he really hears what they have to say.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

And now he's done it again, this time taking on the 'originalist' view of the Constitution.

Constitutional originalists contend that the original meaning of the words the drafters of the Constitution used and their intention at the time they wrote it are what should guide interpretation of the law. On the flip side are people who see the Constitution as a living document, meant to adapt to the times. These are certainly not the only two interpretive options and there is much debate to be had as to the merits of various approaches, but since SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, that view is currently part of the public discourse.

Buttigieg explained the problem with originalism in a segment on MSNBC, speaking from what McNamara jokingly called his "irritatingly immaculate kitchen." And in his usual fashion, he totally nails it. After explaining that he sees "a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility" in Coney Barrett's descriptions of herself, he followed up with:

Keep Reading Show less

When you picture a ballerina, you may not picture someone who looks like Lizzy Howell. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't.

Howell is busting stereotypes and challenging people's ideas of what a dancer should look like just by being herself and doing her thing in her own body. The now-19-year-old from Delaware has been dancing since she was five and has performed in venues around the world, including Eurovision 2019. She has won scholarships and trains up to four hours a day to perfect her skills in various styles of dance.

Jordan Matter Photography shared a documentary video about Howell on Facebook—part of his "Unstoppable" series—that has inspired thousands. In it, we get to see Howell's impressive moves and clear love of the art form. Howell shares parts of her life story, including the loss of her mother in a car accident when she was little and how she was raised by a supportive aunt who helped her pursue her dance ambitions. She also explained how she's had to deal with hate comments and bullying from people who judge her based on her appearance.

"I don't think it's right for people to judge off of one thing," Howell says in the video. And she's right—her size is just one thing.

Keep Reading Show less