President Trump will break a White House tradition dating back to Ronald Reagan after declining the invitation from the NAACP, the oldest civil rights group in the country, to speak at their annual convention in Baltimore next week, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.
“My understanding is that the invitation has been declined for this year, but certainly the invitation for dialogue with that group would happily take place, and we would certainly like to be able to continue to do that,” Sanders said.
NAACP Board Chairman Leon Russell told the Associated Press that he questioned Trump’s commitment black Americans after declining the invitation.
“During his campaign, President Trump asked us ‘what do you have to lose?’ ” Russell said. “We get the message loud and clear. The president’s decision today underscores the harsh fact: We have lost — we’ve lost the will of the current administration to listen to issues facing the black community.”
“When President Trump is ready to listen to us and the people we serve, we will be here,” Russell added.