Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand why some will criticize a common-sense decision just because it conflicts with their preconceived notions.
That’s what happened when comedian and talk show host Steve Harvey decided to meet with President-elect Donald Trump in January. The idea that a black man would meet with Trump to find ways to help inner city children caused many on the left to experience a cognitive dissonance that appeared to be more than they could handle.
Harvey, along with Martin Luther King III, and Jim Brown, was excoriated by many on the left and in the black community for daring to commit the unpardonable sin of speaking with President Trump. And yet, it appears that Harvey’s meeting might bear some fruit – which is more than can be said of his critics. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian discussed his conversation with President Trump and the backlash he faced as a result.
Steve Harvey Opens Up About His Meeting With Trump
Steve Harvey describes his meeting with the president as an honest and congenial dialogue in which they discussed ways to provide educational opportunities for inner city children. For the first twenty minutes, Harvey says they talked about something they have in common: their love of golf. After that, it was time to get down to business, “And then I told him, “Mr. President, I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t vote for you. I campaigned very hard for Hillary Clinton,” he said. “But now that you’re here, you’re the 45th president and I’m going to help you.” Then, Harvey proceeded to lay out his proposal.
You’ve appointed Ben Carson as the head of Housing and Urban Development, and I’ve got keys to a lot of cities around this country from the years of performing that I’ve done. I can get an ear to them really quick and find out what their real needs are. Y’all keep closing schools in the cities. Why don’t we take those schools that are closing, put some HUD money in them, and reopen them as vision centers and teach STEM and computers and coding? If you connect me with Ben Carson, I can help him with that.” A few minutes later, he had Ben Carson on the phone.
Sounds pretty promising, right? Not surprisingly, the left disagreed – and they made sure that their feelings on the matter were known.
The Left’s Attacks
After Steve Harvey met with Trump in January, the media pounced on him like a pack of hyenas. Marc Lamont Hill referred to Harvey – as well as other black Americans who met with Trump – as “mediocre negroes.” On Twitter, people launched vicious invectives at Harvey. Fellow comedian D.L. Hughley accused Harvey of engaging in a publicity stunt. A group of former fans even tried to get his radio show canceled, stating, “you’re not only a chump, but you’re a traitor to your race.”
Harvey later defended his decision on his radio show, “I have an obligation to take a seat at the table when invited.” He continued, “Change can only happen if you sit at the table…If you’re not at the table you can’t even…suggest what we should be doing.
In his interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Harvey discussed how he felt about the criticism:
It was so vicious that it really threw me. I was being called names that I’ve never been called: Uncle Tom. A coon. A sellout. Because I went to see this man?!
Even now, eight months after the meeting, people are still criticizing the comedian for his meeting. The Root published a piece entitled, “After Skinnin’ and Grinnin’ for Trump, Steve Harvey Says He Should Have Listened to His Wife and Skipped Meeting,” in which they slammed the comedian. In response to the actor’s statement that he has not spoken with the president since the January meeting, the author writes,
Of course you haven’t, you idiot. That meeting was all for show. He trotted your ass out like the tokens you, Carson and Omarosa all are, and you fell for that shit hook, line and sinker.
Nice to know that the left is still practicing all that tolerance and acceptance, isn’t it? However, the author’s ignorant insult misses the point: President Trump doesn’t need to be intimately involved in the process, that’s why he has cabinet members like Ben Carson, with whom Harvey has been working to establish his vision centers. Trump only needed to get the process started. According to Steve Harvey, their efforts might produce some results.
What Is Getting Done
During the interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Harvey stated that he has been in contact with Ben Carson – and it seems that they are close to making something happen:
I’ve been to HUD twice. I’ve met with Dr. Carson and we’re actually trying to get it started. We’ve had meetings, and now we’re just waiting on the final notes. We have several teams in place. Hopefully before the year goes out, we’ll be making the announcement about the first vision center.
If Carson and Harvey succeed, they will build vision centers that provide educational services to inner city youth. These centers will educate youth in STEM and computer programming. Students who wish to learn how to code will be able to learn the necessary skills.
Summing It All Up
It is clear that Steve Harvey’s decision to meet with President Trump was the right one. As he said on his radio show, a person cannot give their suggestions on how to make progress if they do not take their seat at the table when it is offered.
Unfortunately, many on the left don’t seem to care about the potential benefits that could come from Harvey’s meeting with the president. It appears they are more concerned about the fact that he didn’t stay in his lane and join them in attacking the Trump administration. Instead, Harvey chose a more productive path – working with those with whom he disagreed. His critics would do well to follow Harvey’s example – instead of just launching insults, maybe they should focus on making a difference.
A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff's insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.
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