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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

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Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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