After being pressed by Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed that Trump would not be attending the annual NAACP convention Wednesday afternoon. Trump will be the first president in 20 years to not address the event.
“My understanding is that the invitation has been declined for this year,” Sanders said to reporters during an off-camera, off-mic press briefing. “Certainly the invitation for dialogue with that group would happily take place and we’d certainly like to continue to do that.”
Trump was also invited to speak at last year’s convention when he was a presidential candidate but declined the invitation because of schedule conflicts with the 2016 Republican National Convention. Following Trump’s declining of the NAACP’s latest invitation to its upcoming convention, NAACP Board Chairman Leon Russell released a statement.
“During his campaign, President Trump asked us ‘what do you have to lose?’ 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,” Russell said. “When President Trump is ready to listen to us and the people we serve, we will be here. Until then, the NAACP will continue to strive for an America free from racism and continue to speak truth to power.”
Earlier this year, the NAACP also called out Trump for criticizing civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, when the 45th president said that Lewis was “all talk, talk, talk – no action or results,” after Lewis questioned Trump’s legitimacy as president.
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