Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump answered questions from the press while departing the White House on Nov. 26, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump answered questions from the press while departing the White House on Nov. 26, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

'What an Unexpected, Unpleasant Situation for Students,' Says NAACP Leader Regarding Trump Visit to Historically Black College

Days after "lynching" comment, the president addresses a forum at Benedict College in South Carolina.

President Donald Trump is expected to speak Friday about criminal justice at a historically black college in a scheduling decision that drew outrage from racial justice advocates.

"What an unexpected, unpleasant situation for students, the community, and many citizens of this state to experience after his insensitive remarks regarding being 'lynched' by the Democratic Party," said South Carolina NAACP state conference president Brenda C. Murphy. "What a hell of a statement to make."

The venue is Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, where the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center is holding its 2019 Second Step Presidential Forum Friday through Sunday.

An eventbrite description for the forum details the calendar for Saturday and Sunday, which includes remarks from 2020 Democratic White House hopefuls. The organization said that "all Democratic presidential candidates have been invited to present their criminal justice reform platforms, setting forth specific and articulable policy proposals with measurable results to be achieved by 2024. With the landmark First Step Act passing in late 2018, we are calling upon all candidates to answer: what’s the 'Second Step?'" Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders are scheduled to speak, as are Reps. Jon Delaney and Tulsi Gabbard, as well as Julian Castro, Pete Buttigieg, and Joe Biden.  

Absent from the Eventbrite description are details about Friday's symposium, but the organization said on Twitter that Trump will take part in one-day symposium on "The Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform"

Trump is scheduled to begin his remarks at 2:15 pm.

As The State reported last week, "The lead-up to Trump's decision to join the program... was closely guarded by organizers, who feared the president would either change his mind or alienate those who had already committed to attending or participating."

Murphy, in her statement, said the president's first-ever visit to a HBUC should not overshadow his record of racist rhetoric and actions, including the outrage-inducing comment earlier this week wherein Trump equated House Democrats' impeachment inquiry with "a lynching," which Murphy said "demonstrates a lack of sensitivity regarding the history of the African Americans' journey."

"Although the president recently approved faith based HBCUs to have access to some federal support, we must continue to be skeptical of his actions that have already adversely impacted on the lives of many people of color and others financially disadvantaged," she said. "We must be unwavering in our awareness of his actions that limit our civil rights. We are experiencing the eroding away of the rights that our forefathers fought and gave their lives for us to have the opportunity to advance educationally, socially, and economically."

Trump, said Murphy, "consistently and unapologetically spews divisive rhetoric and actions."


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

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

MSNBC Declines to Voluntarily Recognize Newsroom Union Effort

Organizers said that "we want to support one another and make this an even better place to build a career."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Sanders Speaks Out Against 'Dangerous' Chorus Pushing for New Cold War With China

"Developing a mutually beneficial relationship with China will not be easy," the senator writes. "But we can do better than a new Cold War."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Indigenous Women Invite Deb Haaland to See Devastation of Line 3 for Herself

The tar sands project "poses a significant threat to water, Indigenous treaty rights, and worsens the global climate crisis," the group wrote to Biden's Interior Secretary.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


After SCOTUS Upholds ACA, Progressives Set Sights on Medicare for All

Now, said campaigner Michael Lighty, "we can instead go to a system that will actually guarantee healthcare to everybody, which the ACA does not do and cannot do."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


McConnell Makes Clear 'All Republicans Will Oppose' Manchin Voting Rights Compromise

"The idea that Manchin can pass a law to protect the vote with help from the very people it needs protecting from is suspect at best."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·