One of the hallmarks of President Donald J. Trump’s success in the private sector, and now the public sector, is his openness to working together with a diverse group of people to get things done.
As a businessman, President Trump worked with the NAACP in 1987 and was named chairman of the New York Citizens Committee for their 78th NAACP Convention. In subsequent years he worked with Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition Wall Street Project where he attended and spoke two years in a row. In fact, President Trump donated space for the civil rights organization to raise awareness about the need for diversity on Wall Street.
Rev. Jackson said of Mr. Trump, he “created for many people a comfort zone when I ran for the Presidency, in ’84 and ’88. And [although] many others thought it was something laughable or something to avoid, he came to our business meeting here in New York, because he has this sense of the curious and a will to risk to make things better. So aside from all of his style and his pizazz, he is a serious person who is an effective builder of building for the builder people.”
Donald Trump had no problem working with diverse groups and people to get things done that would benefit the greater good.
It is not surprising that President Trump has taken this same bipartisan approach to governance. He has been willing to work, listen, and meet with anyone that is serious about Making American Great Again for every citizen. This president has formed unlikely alliances that run counter to what the media says about him to empower and uplift all Americans but in particular, the black community.
During the 2016 campaign, President Trump met with a group of black clergy in Trump Tower. After he won the election, the Trump Transition team followed the lead of the president-elect and held listening sessions with key black leaders from both sides of the aisle.
There was a major meeting of well over 100 black leaders and organizations like the NAACP, National Urban League, NOBLE, National Action Network, 100 Black Men, National Council of Negro Women, United Negro College Fund, and others held in Washington, D.C. There were meetings between the president-elect and Bob Johnson, Steve Harvey, Martin Luther King, III, Ray Lewis, and Kanye West.
When it came to criminal justice reform, President Trump and his administration worked with Van Jones and Kim Kardashian who amplified the work of the White House on the First Step Act and important clemency and pardon actions that helped Americans like Alice Johnson. When the White House reached out to Senator Kamala Harris about the First Step Act, sadly, she refused to return the phone call.
The Trump White House was willing to work with people like Robert F. Smith and John Hope Bryant when it came to ensuring that more resources were getting to those who needed it most during this global pandemic. Working with black-owned banks, CDFIs, and other organizations on the ground have led to well over 200 meetings, calls, and visits touching over 1,000 stakeholders from both sides of the aisle.
I am proud that black conservative organizations have had a seat at the table, I am proud that well known and up and coming black Republican leaders, like myself, have had a seat at the table. But I am most proud of the way the Trump White House has done what this president has always done, reached out, been unafraid to directly engage, and form unlikely political alliances to get things done for black America.
Behind the scenes, the Trump administration has been working with hundreds of people and organizations on the ground in the black community that are truly making a difference and impact in the areas of economic development, public safety, education, health and wellness, criminal justice, and faith to come up with many of the policies and solutions rolled out to help traditionally underserved communities hit especially hard during this pandemic.
When President Trump unveiled his second-term agenda for Black Economic Empowerment, the “Platinum Plan,” it was not created quickly to pander for black votes the last 30 days of the election. This plan is the culmination of several months of hard work, listening sessions, and working again with conservative leaders, community groups, experts, and people like Ice Cube.
If you have good ideas and are willing to work with President Trump, President Trump will work with you. Ice Cube had his own Contract with Black America because he realized that to get things done you have to be politically active to get the reforms needed through policy. When the Trump White House reached out to Ice Cube after he posted it, he was willing to work with the White House to have some of his ideas included in this holistic, achievable, life-changing, and historic Platinum Plan.
Leading by example, President Trump and his team care about what black America has to say and is listening, and acting, while the other side just seems to take them for granted.
We have heard about the relationships between President Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill, or more recently Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Antonin Scalia, but we should also talk about President Donald Trump and the countless examples of reaching across the aisle, working with real people on the ground, in a bipartisan fashion to address criminal justice reform, COVID-19, education, public safety, economic development, health disparities, and his new Platinum Plan, keeping his promises to truly help Make America Great Again.
Paris Dennard is a GOP political commentator, strategist, and senior communications adviser for Black Media Affairs at the Republican National Committee and Black Voices for Trump Advisory Board member. Follow him on Twitter at @PARISDENNARD.