At a press conference yesterday, American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan questioned President Donald Trump about whether he had plans to include the Congressional Black Caucus in future policy planning.
“I would. Do you want to set up the meeting?” President Trump responded, talking over the network’s White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief.
“Do you want to set up the meeting?” the president repeated, more forcefully, to the African-American journalist. “Are they friends of yours?”
Ryan replied to the president that she was only a reporter and that she knew some members of the CBC.
The Young Turks host and co-founder Cenk Uygur held his hand to his forehead with his head down while repeating Trump’s question to April Ryan “Are they friends of yours?” as if in pain. Uygur went on to call Trump’s response the “worst answer,” a “debacle,” and “disqualifying.”
Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice called President Trump’s answer to April Ryan “notably offensive.”
The Vox article that Rice references describes the president as viewing “black people as a monolithic ‘other’” — a community made up of individuals who “work and behave in exactly similar ways.”
U.S. Representative from Maryland Elijah Cummings speculated that President Trump doesn’t know who the CBC is and commented on his perception of an assumption among some people that “all black people know all black people.” He expressed astonishment that the president of the United States would ask a member of the White House press pool to arrange a meeting with the CBC.
Even though he professed a belief that “normal presidents” should recognize who the CBC is, Uygur allowed that Trump’s mentality of a “fourth grader” gives him a “pass” on his ignorance. He then moved on to the issue of the president asking a reporter to arrange a meeting with members of a government that he is the head of.
“Why would she do that? She’s a reporter.”
The TYT host spoke directly to President Trump, advising him that as the chief executive of the government all he needs to do if he wants to meet with the CBC is “pick up the phone.”
Uygur then moved on to the next part of Trump’s response: his questioning of Ryan as to whether the CBC were “friends of hers,” which he described as “nonchalant racism.”
“Why would they be friends of hers?” Uygur asked with exasperation. “She’s a reporter and she’s not in Congress.”
“She’s not in government. You’re in government.”
Openly wondering why President Trump might believe April Ryan has a personal relationship with members of the CBC, TYT host John Iadorola jokingly offered that it might be because she’s a woman. Uygur stated that Trump’s apparent racism wasn’t even the most egregious or disqualifying part of the affair. The host went so far as to give the president credit for speaking about the black community without bringing up his view about what a “hell hole” most U.S. inner cities are.
“You have a guy who’s president of the United States and doesn’t know how government works,” Uygur explained.
He described how, as the president, Donald Trump has a chief of staff who is responsible for arranging meetings with caucuses and others and that asking to meet with members of Congress is a “normal” thing for him to do. Uygur stated that asking April Ryan to arrange a meeting with members of Congress displays ignorance on the part of Trump.
“That means that you don’t know anything about government.”
Speaking to Republicans, Cenk Uygur insisted that members of the party have the ability to discern the level of ignorance and unpreparedness displayed by President Trump’s remarks and that while conservatives may applaud his tax cuts and other policy positions, they must be aware that he is a “grade A fool.”
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