While President Trump continues to condemn NFL players for taking a knee during the national anthem, going as far as to call these athletes (some of which are dedicated philanthropists) “sons of bitches,” the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is lashing out against the White House, expressing disdain for the way the president is handing race relations in the United States.
On Thursday, Cedric Richmond, chair of the CBC, fired off letter to President Trump, criticizing him for his “calculated, divisive response to nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice by professional football players, owners, coaches, and countless other patriots.”
Last night, Richmond told CNN that he wants to prevent a nation seemingly fixated on which national anthem pose is a greater signifier of American patriotism from forgetting how racism, inequality and injustice still continues to threaten the pulse of the African American community.
“What I don’t want to do is to allow this country, people of good will, who believe in equality, justice and all those things to get side tracked on whether you’re standing or kneeling at the flag,” he said.
“The real question is: why is Trayvon Martin laying in a casket; Sandra Bland, laying in a casket, and Michael Brown, and Alton Sterling. The list goes on an on of people laying in a casket, and we’re talking about whether you’re kneeling or standing,” he continued. “It’s a tough conversation and I think it deserves a real, honest discussion, and I don’t think that this president is giving us that.”
In the letter, Richmond points out that this is not the first time his organization has attempted to educated the Trump administration about problems ranging from the criminal justice system to police brutality. But Richmond insists the White House continues to turn a blind eye.
To drive home this argument, Richmond points the Justice Department’s plans to breathe new life into the national drug war – a move that, according to decades of U.S. history, is destined to have the greatest impact on African American communities.
“Attorney General Sessions has initiated a second failed war on drugs that will wreck the Black community, an over-policed population, and only exacerbate our nation's shameful mass incarceration problem,” the letter reads. “The painful irony that Black drug users are treated as criminals while White opioid addicts receive a multi-million-dollar federal public health response is not lost on me or the millions of African Americans that CBC Members represent. You personally add insult to injury with the racist dog whistles you employ.”
Although President Trump claims he has nothing but love for African American communities, the CBC says his actions have only caused further harm. The group is calling for Trump to revisit its almost 130-page policy book, which members left behind after a meeting at the White House back in March, to help him better understand the “underlying concerns” that have prompted so many NFL players to take a knee in the first place.