Perhaps after the now infamous Frederick Douglass debacle kicking off Black History Month, President Donald Trump wants to make it right with the blacks.
According to a BuzzFeed report, the White House is working on an executive order supporting historically black colleges and universities—a way to crow, since some believe that President Barack Obama did not do enough for the predominantly African-American institutions during his two terms in office.
The outlet reports that at least three sources familiar with a Wednesday-morning Black History Month “listening session” said that the president and those assembled spoke at length about HBCUs.
Paris Dennard, a Republican consultant who works on strategic communications for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and who was present at the meeting, told Trump “he could go down as one of the greatest presidents in modern history, and that his support of HBCUs was badly needed—especially given how HBCUs fared under the previous administration.”
According to a 2016 Politico report, most of the heads of HBCUs gave Obama failing marks for his policies as they related to the schools. Changes to Pell Grants and other loan programs during his term decimated enrollment at many HBCUs because low-income students could not afford to pay.
Dennard and two other sources said that this piqued Trump’s interest, prompting the president to ask further about HBCUs after the press corps left the room. Trump asked what “the Harvard” of HBCUs was. At least three people in the room affiliated with the school said that Howard University fit the bill (you know).
Attendees told Trump that while Howard was receiving federal funds and doing fairly well, many others were struggling, with someone in the room linking the poor state of HBCUs directly to the first African-American president.
“He was shocked and upset to learn what happened under the previous administration,” Dennard said.
Trump asked what he needed to do, and Trump communications aide Omarosa Manigault—a Howard alum—reportedly said that she was working on an executive order, ostensibly to come out during Black History Month.
Though details are scarce, BuzzFeed cites sources who speculate that the White House Initiative on HBCUs, housed under the Education Department under Obama, might be moved to be run out of the White House.
Omarosa, who had no comment on the report, did say, “I can, however, reinforce the president’s commitment to support historically black colleges and universities, as well as school choice, as he stated throughout the campaign.”
Maybe one of those executive orders will be for good this time.