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HARRY C. ALFORD

Something was taken for granted with the Trump Transition Team. It was assumed that Omarosa Manigault was the point person for African Americans. Just about everyone thought that. As time went on it became apparent that she didn’t know it. I remember the first transition meeting of Black national organizations the Trump campaign held. I was invited and felt it safe my charge would be to provide advice on Black business development. It shocked me to see that the Black chamber created by President Obama’s administration, to oppose our National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), was also invited. This was the group that propped up Obama’s cabinet to be pro-Black when it came to capitalistic items even though the progressive left was no proponent of capitalism let alone, Black capitalism. It was funded by Hillary Clinton cronies. How could someone make that mistake?

I didn’t get insulted. It was clear to me that Ms. Manigault wasn’t clear about the whole deal of left versus right. Her agenda, in the minds of everyone else, was about African American Outreach. No one else had that title and there wasn’t a deliberate omission about it. She made snafus like arguing with the Congressional Black Caucus. Anyone knows that you aren’t going to win friends in this city with that strategy. As time went on she made other false steps. When word came out that the association of Historical and Black Colleges and Universities were upset with the treatment she was dishing out to them, it all came to a “head.”

Boom! White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly gave her the “boot.” Word has it she was escorted out of the White House by the Secret Service. The word spread like wildfire throughout DC like the fire flames in Southern California. Before I could figure it out, I received an email inviting the NBCC to a meeting at the White House concerning the Tax Reform legislation. The day after that Kay received an invite. We hadn’t received invites like that before in years. Something new was happening. Something new indeed—there was a change, a substantial change.

Dozens of Black conservative leaders received identical invites. The invites were sent out on Thursday and Friday for an urgent meeting to be held at the White House Monday afternoon. When we walked into the meeting we saw dozens of people of similar ilk. Black conservative business leaders such as Herman Cain filled the room. We received presentations about the upcoming legislation from White House Economic Council Director Gary Cohen, Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Senator Tim Scott and others. Stephen P. Munisteri, Deputy Assistant to the President, Principal Deputy Director of the Office of Public Liaison was the moderator.

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