This Black Congresswoman Revealed Another Problem With President Trump and Black History

February 1st 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

Surrounded by black leaders and staffers, President Donald Trump held an event at the White House on Wednesday to honor the first day of Black History Month, though it was some strange comments about the press and black historical figures that received most of the attention.

However, a black congresswoman is highlighting another issue with Trump's celebration of black history: his cabinet picks, and who he's surrounded himself with. 


"President Trump’s record stands for itself, and he can’t disguise it with photo-ops," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) told ATTN:.

Lee tweeted about the ways Trump could truly honor black Americans, criticizing Trump's appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist and the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to become attorney general. 

Lee also advised Trump to work with black congressional leaders to tackle systemic racism.

The Congressional Black Caucus, of which Lee is a member, opposed Sessions' nomination based on his record with civil rights issues. 

"He has no track record of fighting for justice for minorities despite the characterizations that you have heard from others today," Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) told a Senate committee on Jan. 11. "He and his supporters have told you that he is a champion for civil rights and equality. Characterizations and revisionist history are not the same thing as facts."

Bannon's reputation with respect to racial equality is also controversial. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, said Bannon has a "long history of bigotry," noting the various white nationalist groups that applauded his appointment as Trump's political strategist.

Lee also tweeted that Trump should apologize to civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

In an NBC News interview in January, Lewis said Trump is not a "legitimate president" because of Russian hacking during the election. Trump took offense to those remarks and tweeted an attack on Lewis. 

Lee told ATTN: that to honor black Americans Trump needs to implement policies that address inequality. 

Black Americans face higher rates of unemployment and incarceration, and in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Voting Rights Act to lose much of its teeth, disenfranchising voters of color. Lee said that Trump should protect voting rights and reconsider his cabinet picks, including Betsy DeVos, his controversial choice for secretary of the Department of Education. 

"His first act should be to restore the Voting Rights Act to ensure that all Americans can exercise their constitutional right to vote without obstruction," Lee said. "And he should reconsider his dangerous cabinet appointments, including Sen. Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos, who will stand in the way of equal opportunity and justice for all Americans."

RELATED: Black Democrats Just Dismantled Jeff Sessions' Defense Against Being Called Racist