Can the black Trump aides ever come back home?
What will become of the Black people who have pledged their lives to the Trump administration when this White House version of The Apprentice is inevitably cancelled?
If things continue to play out the way they appear, the Trump White House could end prematurely, whether by resignations, impeachment, indictments, arrests and/or prison. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is staffed up and coming for somebody, or more than one person, in the Trump orbit. Already, evidence of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election is making this administration look a lot like a treasonous, traitorous criminal enterprise. History will not be kind to Trump, who could go down as the worse president in American history.
But what will become of the Black people who enabled Trump’s racist, xenophobic and sexist administration? Quite frankly, they have a lot of explaining to do.
In keeping with the white nationalist theme and racist policies, the Trump administration is a largely white male scenario, but there are a few exceptions.
First, we have Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson. The current head of HUD doesn’t know the first thing about the department he oversees. As Congresswoman Maxine Waters has said, Carson “doesn’t care about people in public housing,” and this is true. This is the same man who said that poverty is largely “a state of mind,” and that we should not make public housing too cozy. In his view, compassion is not providing people “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me.’” If we are to believe that the Trump team selected cabinet members who would eliminate their departments, in an effort to deconstruct the administrative state, as White House adviser Steve Bannon said, then Dr. Carson is a case in point.
Then we have Omarosa Manigault—or should we say the “Honorable” Omarosa Manigault–Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison. Omarosa once said that Trump keeps an enemies’ list. With her salary at $179,700, one must wonder if that is a fair price for selling out Black people.
Omarosa worked with the president on the executive order on HBCUs, which turned out to be a nothing burger, as Republicans would say. All those HBCU presidents came to the White House expecting a check for their school—as they should because many of these worthy, important institutions are in need—and got nothing but a photo op.
In other words, they got played.
When the Honorable Omarosa invited the Congressional Black Caucus for a meeting with the president and they declined the invitation to be extras and props in Trump’s reality show, she accused them of “showboating.” And she is supposed to be the liaison to the CBC.
There are other noteworthy Trump surrogates and loyalists of color who are causing damage in their own way. Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke–who was up for a spot in Homeland Security but did not make the cut after news of plagiarizing his master’s thesis surfaced– is known for calling Black Lives Matter a “terrorist movement.” He gave a speech at last year’s Republican National Convention that would have made Uncle Ruckus–no, Clayton Bigsby–proud, as he proclaimed that “Blue Lives Matter” and congratulated a white Baltimore cop for his acquittal in the killing of Freddie Gray.
Interestingly enough, during the campaign, Clarke tweeted that he was in Moscow on December 10, 2015 meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister–as many Trump surrogates apparently have done to their detriment. That was the same day Michael Flynn was speaking at an event with Putin in Moscow and making that Russian money. Perhaps we will hear more about that soon.
Red Square near the Kremlin with a Russian officer. Met earlier with Russian Foreign Minister who spoke on Mid East. pic.twitter.com/ZcDdQB65lb
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) December 10, 2015
And there is Ken Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati-turned-Ohio secretary of state, whose claim to fame was accidentally posting 1.2 million Ohio voters’ Social Security numbers online, and later distributing voter lists with the Social Security numbers of 5.7 million voters. During the 2004 election, Blackwell created obstacles barring Ohioans from voting, and violated the Voting Rights Act through stunts such as making it hard to cast provisional ballots, creating a shortage of electronic voting machine in urban areas, and developing last-minute arcane regulations on the size and paper stock of voter registration cards. Blackwell, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, became a member of the Trump transition team before he was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, where his voter suppression skills will be put to good use.
Black conservatives are nothing new. The Black community does not require uniformity of ideas or points of view. However, when some folks are working against black aspirations–and for white supremacists no less–they may deserve their opinion, but whether they deserve our respect and adoration is another question altogether. When some among us forget from whence they came–and use their position of power in government to make our lives more difficult–black folks should decide how we will engage when they fall from grace. Drunk from power and the Trump orange-flavored kool-aid, when they are no longer working in the White House because their boss is in the federal penitentiary, their swelled heads must conform to their new, downgraded reality.
When this administration is over, the black water carriers for this most illegitimate president must be held accountable for the damage they have done. As the saying goes, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. Whether the black Trump aides can come back home when no one else will take them depends on them, but it also depends on us.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove.