A planned summit on race Donald Trump agreed last week to host at the White House is in disarray and unlikely to take place before this year’s elections, if at all.
Trump had been said to be ‘totally 100 percent for it’ by an outside adviser, Pastor Darrell Scott. ‘Now we’re just dotting the i’s crossing the t’s getting the logistics in place,’ Scott said Thursday after an Oval Office meeting with Trump.
Scott said then that Kanye West would be the most significant invited guest, days after the rapper endorsed the president and posed in a Make America Great Again hat, in addition to Colin Kapernick.
However, six sources who spoke to DailyMail.com, including Scott, indicated that the summit was, at best, still in the conceptual stage. African-American Republicans in particular did not want it to happen before the November midterm elections.
‘There are no plans for an imminent summit to occur,’ a person familiar with the White House’s position told DailyMail.com on Monday.
Black Republicans and aides to the president are warning Trump that the summit could be used by invitees such as Kaepernick as a platform to call the president a racist in a forum where he has to respond.
A planned summit on race Donald Trump agreed last week to host at the White House is in disarray and unlikely to take place before this year’s elections, if at all
‘There are no plans for an imminent summit to occur,’ a person familiar with the White House’s position told DailyMail.com on Monday on the Kanye summit. West is seen here at Trump Tower in December of 2016
West’s support for Trump on Twitter, and a subsequent bounce in African-American support for the president in a Reuters poll, has sparked new interest in having a White House-linked conversation on race
The consequences of such a confrontation could be disastrous for the GOP, particularly if it takes place just before voters go to the ballot box this fall. Midterm election cycles are traditionally used to reprimand sitting presidents.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is also said to have fumed, ‘Who in the f*** would have a race summit before the mid-term election, are you kidding me?
‘You know that’s our Achilles heel,’ he told staff according to one of DailyMail.com’s sources.
A black Republican familiar with talks about summit also cautioned Trump that ‘you have to be very careful about the political risk associated with something like this.’
‘If you invite a group of people into an event that’s open mic and and open press, they could use it as an opportunity to potentially embarrass the president and attack him personally.’
The source said, ‘What the White House and other people are trying to say is, ‘These conversations could turn sour on you.’ ‘
‘Someone could really say some awful things about the president, his administration and his policies, and the president is forced to respond to it because you created this open forum dialogue.’
Trump’s aides have voiced similar frustrations, a source told DailyMail.com.
‘They’re pissed. The staff are pissed, because this is the last thing they need to deal with is the thorny issue of race,’ another black Republican familiar with the conversations said.
‘You’ve got a recipe waiting for disaster to happen. And that’s why the staff are livid,’ the person added. ‘They are more livid about this than Charlottesville and other issues that have popped up.’
Kanye West would be the most significant invited guest, days after the rapper endorsed the president and posed in a Make America Great Again hat, in addition to Colin Kapernick (pictured)
In a tweet last month about Kanye West, President Trump merely wrote ‘MAGA!’ – which is shorthand for ‘Make America Great Again’
Trump had been said to be ‘totally 100 percent for it’ by an outside adviser, Pastor Darrell Scott. ‘Now we’re just dotting the i’s crossing the t’s getting the logistics in place,’ Scott said Thursday after an Oval Office meeting with Trump
West’s support for Trump on Twitter, and a subsequent bounce in African-American support for the president in a Reuters poll, has sparked new interest, however, in having a White House-linked conversation on race.
Trump has publicly thanked West and directly backed Scott’s pitch to have the rapper headline a White House summit.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement to DailyMail.com that Trump does want to have a conversation on issues that affect the black community.
‘President Trump promised to be a President for all Americans and his policies have kept that promise,’ Gidley said.
‘Whether it’s tax cuts, the creation of opportunity zones, the lowest African American unemployment rate in history, growing our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, capital investment in the African American community or the prioritization of prison reform, the White House is encouraged by people from all walks of life who want to sit down with President Trump and have conversations on how these many successes can continue.’
A source familiar with the matter said the Kanye summit was definitely something the president is considering.
Trump seemed in high spirits when he saw Scott on the tarmac in Cleveland during a visit to Ohio on Saturday, although the president was said by a source to be upset about the way the matter had been handled.
Aides to the president, including Kelly, were also said to be ‘livid’ that Scott advertised Trump’s interest in the initiative immediately after their conversation in the Oval Office.
A White House official disputed the claim that Kelly was angry about the summit. What he was upset by were reports making it sound like it could happen next week.
‘He wanted it meticulously planned, orchestrated, grandiose event and not thrown together last minute,’ the official told DailyMail.com.
Scott says that he has been working directly with the White House’s Office of Public Liaison on the initiative. He noted in a conversation with DailyMail.com that he’s been talking openly about a potential summit for months.
The summit only gained attention last week after Scott said he wanted to invite Kanye West.
In an airport interview with TMZ, Scott also said that he’d invited Kaepernick to participate through ‘someone he knows.’
‘We would love to have him there,’ he said in a video that TMZ posted.
Scott walked back the invitation, though, in a conversation on Sunday evening with DailyMail.com.
He said that celebrities who could use the event to embarrass the president by calling him a racist will not be invited.
‘That’s not gonna happen. I’m not gonna let that happen on my watch,’ he said.
Scott said in the phone call that the guest list has not been set yet, but he wants artists, athletes, cultural influencers and trend setters like West to attend.
‘I don’t want to give anybody an opportunity to grandstand,’ he said of the potential for someone like Kaepernick, who the president has clashed with over his national anthem boycott, to assail the president at the event.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is also said to have fumed, ‘Who in the f*** would have a race summit before the mid-term election, are you kidding me?’
Scott also said he plans to avoid offering invitations to people who will publicize the fact that they were invited to meet with Trump and then say, ‘There’s no way I’d go sit down with that guy.’
The Cleveland-based pastor told DailyMail.com of the summit: ‘The date, place, time, format, all have to be ironed out.
‘But the idea of the president being open to such a meeting is there,’ he added.
Scott, the head of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, said he saw White House Chief of Staff Kelly on his way into the meeting with the president last Thursday, and the retired general declined to attend.
‘He said, “No I’ve got something else to do,” ‘ Scott says Kelly told him. ‘ “No you guys got it.” ‘
The White House knew at that point that Scott planned to bring up the summit. Politico and TMZ had already published items on it.
Scott said that the meeting with Trump was primarily to discuss urban revitalization, however, and it had been on the schedule for weeks beforehand.
He said the Kanye summit was discussed for roughly five minutes at the end of the meeting in the Oval that Kareem Lanier, who’s also part of the Urban Revitalization Coalition, attended with him.
The pastor says Trump told him then, ‘ “Yes, I’m on board with it.” ‘
Black Republicans who spoke to DailyMail.com applauded the president for his willingness to tackle race after Scott’s announcement.
They just said, like Kelly, that they want Trump to be careful about the way he goes about it.
‘There’s probably a good reason why very few U.S. presidents have been willing to do this, including the last president,’ one person said, making a reference to the federal government’s first black executive Barack Obama.
‘But [Trump’s] not your typical politician, which is why he’s willing to have tough conversations about race, about gun violence in schools, about patriotism about monuments.’