WASHINGTON — A progressive group urging primaries for any Democratic lawmaker who does not do everything they can to oppose Donald Trump on Thursday slammed a high-profile meeting between black lawmakers and President Trump as "shocking."
#WeWillReplaceYou also panned a statement by the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus that the largest Democratic caucus and Trump had shared goals. Richmond told reporters Trump indicated he wanted to have the meetings regularly.
"I don't how there can be shared goals with a president who in two months has directly cut services and called for more financial cuts or the complete elimination of programs that protect the black people in the most need in this country," #WeWillReplaceYou co-founder Jessica Pierce told BuzzFeed News.
"I will tell you that it was a meeting where both sides listened, and we were very candid about disagreements," CBC chair Rep. Cedric Richmond told reporters. "But the surprising part was that when we talked about the goals, there were more [similarities] than there were differences."
In an email to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the CBC said leadership met with Trump to push him on matters affecting black Americans, armed with a policy paper titled "We Have a Lot to Lose."
"We understand that the policies and programs the president is promoting will hurt some of the most vulnerable African Americans across the country," they said. "This is exactly why we accepted the president’s request to meet, talked with him for nearly 45 minutes about our concerns, and offered 130-pages of alternative policy solutions."
#WeWillReplaceYou is a project of the group All of Us, and an effort to channel grassroots energy into shaping Democratic politics. "Donald Trump is a threat to the American people and everything we believe in," the group's website read in an appeal to supporters. "Millions are rising up in resistance, but too many Democrats have been enabling and collaborating with him instead."
But opposing Trump at all costs has proven a quandary for some Democratic lawmakers. Some believe it's part of their responsibility to engage the president on any number of topics, or that it's in the best interest of their constituents to vote for his cabinet nominees or work with the White House to see through big projects like an infrastructure bill.
Criticism of black leaders cozying to the administration has happened at the grassroots level, but Thursday marked one of the first times national progressives leading the Trump resistance singled out black lawmakers as out of touch with the movement against Trump.
"The leaders of the CBC need to wake up and pay attention," said Pierce. "They're posing for pictures in the Oval Office and we need them to put pressure on the president and fight for policy that reflects the needs of black people."
Darren Sands is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Darren Sands at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.