The following article by Alexander Smith was posted on the NBC News website February 17, 2017:
President Donald Trump’s exchange with a black journalist during Thursday’s whirlwind press conference has been branded “notably offensive” by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
The president was asked by reporter April Ryan whether he planned to include the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in conversations on his urban agenda.
Ryan, who is White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks in Baltimore, initially referred to the Congressional Black Caucus by its acronym, the CBC, prompting Trump to ask: “Am I going to include who?”
Once Ryan elaborated, Trump asked her whether she wanted to set up the meeting, despite her telling him she was “just a reporter” and not affiliated with the group.
“I tell you what: Do you want to set up the meeting? Do you want to set up the meeting?” he asked. “Let’s go. Set up a meeting. I would love to meet with the Black Caucus. I think it’s great, the Congressional Black Caucus. I think it’s great.”
Rice, who was President Barack Obama’s national security adviser and the first black woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, pointed to an article by Vox, which she said was “a cogent summary of why @realDonaldTrump’s answer to April Ryan was so notably offensive.”
The article said Trump “genuinely seems to view black people as a monolithic ‘other’ — a group of people who work and behave in exactly similar ways.”
It also called the exchange an “unrivaled low” for Trump.
Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings made a similar point.
“I don’t think he knew what the CBC was … and I think a lot of people assume that all black people know all black people,” Cummings told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Thursday night. “The idea that the president would ask somebody in the press pool to set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus… he’s the President of the United States of America. He can make that phone call himself.”