Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump will not attend the NAACP's annual conference. (Photo: AP)

'Message Loud and Clear' Says NAACP After Latest Trump Snub

For second time, and unlike predecessors, president refuses to attend civil rights organization's annual gathering

Jessica Corbett

President Donald Trump's decision to decline an invitation to attend the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's 108th annual convention, "underscores the harsh fact: we have lost—we've lost the will of the current Administration to listen to issues facing the Black community," said Leon Russell, the group's board chairman.

"It's extremely unfortunate...though I must admit, his refusal to attend our convention is not totally unexpected."
—Leon Russell, NAACP
"It's extremely unfortunate that during these pressing and urgent times, the President has chosen to turn his back on the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization—though I must admit, his refusal to attend our convention is not totally unexpected," Russell said.

"This is the second time President Trump has refused an offer to speak at our annual convention," he added. "We get the message loud and clear."

NAACP is a bipartisan organization, and Trump's absence is a notable departure from his predecessors. In recent years, the group has hosted former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.

This is far from Trump's first brush with civil rights advocates. During his campaign, Trump provoked furious responses when said stop-and-frisk practices in New York and Chicago "worked very well." He also nominated former Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general—despite the fact that Sessions couldn't even get approved as a federal judge during the Reagan administration, because of troubling comments and actions regarding race. This is the second year in a row that Trump has bailed on the NAACP's annual convention. Last year, as a presidential candidate, he also declined their invitation.

In a press briefing Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders wouldn't offer any insight into Trump's decision, and only said: "My understanding is that the invitation has been declined for this year," and the administration "would certainly like to be able to continue" a dialogue with the group.

"When President Trump is ready to listen to us and the people we serve, we will be here," Russell said. "Until then, the NAACP will continue to strive for an America free from racism and continue to speak truth to power."

Trump's latest snub comes amid a steady stream of fatal police shootings that continue to rattle the Black community, and the president's choice—in a nation where institutional racism remains deeply embedded in schools, public services, and the court system—sends a strong message about his priorities. 

The NAACP is United States' oldest civil rights organization and claims more than half a million members and supporters. Its mission "is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Sunrise Movement Warns of 'Betrayal' as Pelosi Bends Toward Corporate Democrats

"We need Dems to hold the line for a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, full stop."

Jake Johnson ·


Progressive Groups Warn Congress Against Including Carbon Tax in Reconciliation Package

"If lawmakers are really concerned about holding the costs of this spending bill, they should get rid of the billions of dollars we waste every year on subsidies to polluters."

Jessica Corbett ·


Opposing His Renomination, Warren Calls Fed Chair Powell 'A Dangerous Man'

"Your record gives me grave concern," Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Jerome Powell. "Over and over, you have acted to make our banking system less safe."

Jake Johnson ·


California Wildfire Victims Lead Calls for Tougher PG&E Criminal Penalties

"The power company is the biggest serial killer in state history, and all it gets is fines?"

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressives Warn Democrats Against Means-Testing Reconciliation Bill to Death

"Raising taxes on the rich is much more efficient than means-testing benefits and accomplishes exactly what the spending hawks claim to be concerned about!"

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo