While still under fire for a series of tweets widely perceived as racist, Donald Trump stoked even more controversy this week when the White House announced that he would not be making a planned appearance at the NAACP National Convention in Detroit.
As Fox 2 Detroit reported, the White House had agreed to a date for Trump to appear at the convention but Trump backed out after details reportedly changed. It has been a longstanding tradition for the NAACP to invite the sitting president to its national convention, regardless of party affiliation.
Trump said this week that he “very much wanted to go” but said the date got changed and the NAACP wanted him to appear on a question and answer session rather than a speech that he had planned.
As the report noted, Trump’s decision to back out drew sharp criticism from the NAACP, with Detroit Branch President Wendell Anthony saying that the president was afraid to open himself up to questions. Anthony noted that the question and answer session is common when inviting presidents to attend.
“There is a format; every candidate has said that he or she would be glad to participate in,” Anthony said. “It’s beyond us as to why that would be of some discomfort for the president ”
Donald Trump’s decision to back out of the NAACP convention came during a week in which he drew widespread criticism for a series of tweets decried as racist. Over the weekend, Trump took aim at four Democratic congresswomen of color, telling them to go back to their “original” countries. Of the four, three had been born in the United States and one, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, was a naturalized citizen.
The controversy deepened when Trump took aim at Omar during a campaign rally in North Carolina, prompting the crowd to chant, “send her back!”
As The New York Times noted, Trump would later denounce the chants, saying he did not agree with it and claiming that he tried to get the crowd to stop by speaking quickly to interrupt the chant. Video showed that Trump paused when the chant started and did not continue speaking until they had finished.
Trump cancels appearance at NAACP national convention in Detroit https://t.co/lSll0N09hH
— FOX 2 Detroit (@FOX2News) July 19, 2019
Wendell Anthony said there is credence to the criticism of racism against Trump.
“If it speaks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck – it must be a duck,” Anthony said.
While Donald Trump will not be attending the NAACP convention, the event will still include appearances from a number of politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some of the top candidates for the Democratic Party’s ticket in 2020, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.