Editorial

EDITORIAL: Will Bowser’s Meeting with Trump Matter for District Residents?          

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested and was granted a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump earlier this week, traveling to the soon-to-be-president’s New York City posh living quarters.

It was her first meeting with Trump since his November victory at the polls, although technically it appears that he won the Electoral College “polls” but not the popular vote.

Back to the issue at hand.

Bowser said she wanted to have a face-to-face conversation so that they could begin a “constructive dialogue on how his Administration can partner with the District to advance Washington, D.C.’s growth over the next four years.”

In a released statement, Bower said the following: “I want to thank the President-elect for hearing about our priorities like education, transportation and statehood and showing a willingness to work together to reach common ground.”

Bowser, who was joined by Chief of Staff John Falcicchio and Senior Advisor Beverly Perry, later spoke with members of the press in New York. And she’ll probably talk with local reporters in the coming days as well about what she and Trump discussed in greater detail.

Bowser, to her credit, is right to reach out to Trump on behalf of the 670,000 residents of the District. And yes, it’s important to maintain healthy relations between the federal and local government in D.C. Sure issues like statehood, D.C. growth, safety and infrastructure remain at the top of our list of priorities and if Trump can lend a hand, we’ll certainly accept his assistance.

But given the fact that a mere 4 percent of District voters supported Trump at the polls, and based on a litany of examples which suggest that Trump tends to reward only those who have been loyal to him, we wonder if the meeting of the minds will really make a difference.

At the least, it will provide material on which local media can pounce for the next few days. It may even find its way into the opening monologues of late night television hosts or into the standup routines of a few well-read comedians.

But at least the mayor made an effort. At least she initiated the communication. At least she had an agenda and a plan which she presented to our nation’s next president.

At the same time, however, we’re encouraging Bowser to put her focus on an issue that has long plagued the District – poverty in Ward 8.

Because in her passion to bring more D.C. residents closer to that path of the “middleclass” which served as her election platform’s basis, she, as well as several mayor before her, have not succeeded in significantly helping those locked in generational poverty by providing tools that could help them escape. For them, it doesn’t matter whether the president is Black like Obama or white and nonconventional like Trump. For them, their reality has remained as constant and unchanging as an old sore whose bandage has long been removed but whose scar remains visible.

So while the meeting between Trump and Bowser may on the surface yield little, we can still make immediate changes for those in immediate and dire need – the poor who live East of the River.

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