(TriceEdneyWire.com)—Eighty HBCU Presidents did a “fly in” to the White House in a meeting organized by Trump whisperer Omarosa, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), and others. There was a White House meeting, a meeting at the Library of Congress, and more buzz than that which comes from a bee hive. People were prepped to hear that the White House Initiative for HBCUs would move from the Department of Education to the White House and that this would have an impact on the resources HBCUs would receive from this President’s budget.
Can somebody spell hoodwinked? Sure, the HBCU Presidents came to Washington and got their photo op with our nation’s 45th President (I’ll just call him 45). But the listening session they were to have with some cabinet leaders was interrupted in favor of the photo-op, which means that many who were tapped to speak and who had prepared remarks did not have the opportunity to deliver them. Notably, Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough posted his remarks online, and made a few media appearances sharing his dissatisfaction. And outgoing Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson shared his disappointment in a letter with the Morehouse community.
To be sure, HBCU Presidents are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to this President. HBCUs have often done well under Republican Presidents because they are low-hanging fruit. Located in the deeply Republican South, the senators who represent their states get points when they do the right thing, as do Presidents who increase Pell grants and Title III dollars, as well as encouraging contract opportunities with government departments. Those who didn’t show up to the “fly in” probably incurred the wrath of the vindictive Omarosa who said she was “taking names” and that 45’s detractors would have to “bow down” to him. Presidents pretty much had to show up, and hope for the best. They went home empty-handed, with an executive order moving the White House Initiative on HBCU office into the White House, but with no additional resources to manage it. There was also lofty, but resource-devoid language in the executive order.