WASHINGTON The White House will not postpone a conference on historically black colleges next month, rejecting calls from African-American lawmakers who said President Donald Trump should shelve the event after his comments about the fatal protest in Charlottesville, Va.
The Sept. 17-19 conference will go on as scheduled, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, director for communications for the White House’s Office of Public Liaison said Tuesday.
“President Trump’s commitment to the HBCU community remains strong and unwavering,” Manigault-Newman said in a statement to McClatchy. “Registration is currently at capacity and we are looking forward to welcoming HBCU presidents, students and guests.”
In addition, Manigault-Newman said administration officials will make an announcement regarding the naming of an executive director for Trump’s HBCU Initiative.
Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., the first African-American lawmaker to call for Trump to postpone the conference, was still wary. The White House did not respond to her August 1 letter seeking an update on Trump’s initiative. Nor did it get back to her after the president said “there’s blame on both sides” for the deadly August 12 Charlottesville rally that was dominated by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Adams said Tuesday that instead of holding a conference next month, “It would be more productive to hear from the president directly or from his education secretary about what progress they are making on the HBCUs’ request before asking presidents to come back to Washington for another photo op.”
President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday aimed at bolstering historically black colleges and universities by moving the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities from the Department of Education to the White House. “This is a very important moment and a moment that means a great deal to me,” said Trump. Written by William Douglas and Franco Ordonez read more.