If TV host and comedian Steve Harvey could go back in time, he wouldn’t have agreed to a private sit-down meeting with President Donald Trump in January. Harvey said he should have taken his wife’s advice and instead set sail on a planned boat trip for his birthday.

Before Trump’s inauguration, Harvey met in person with the then president-elect at Trump Tower in New York City on Jan. 13 and spoke over the phone with now Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson about affordable housing. Harvey received backlash from the Black community for attending — and even more so after he posted a glowing statement on Twitter following the meeting:

“I feel that something really great could come out of this … I would sit with him anytime,” he said.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (THR) published Tuesday, Harvey talked about the backlash.

“It was so vicious that it really threw me,” he said. “I was being called names that I’ve never been called: Uncle Tom. A coon. A sellout. Because I went to see this man?”

Those critical of Harvey believed his adoration of Trump was an about-face from previously slamming him.

“If Donald Trump becomes president, then I’m running,” Harvey told the Daily Beast in February 2016. “Because then obviously background checks have gone out the window. How do you let a dude who was on the cover of Playboy magazine and has been married 18 times be your president? Now come on. Hell, then I qualify.”

Harvey told THR that former President Barack Obama’s transition team facilitated the appointment with Trump after the then president-elect’s transition team said they wanted a meeting with the TV host.

“I have a relationship with Obama,” he said. “We’re friends. So I say, ‘Okay, cool.’”

However, his wife, Marjorie, thought the meeting wasn’t a good idea.

“Now, here’s the crazy thing: I’m supposed to be on a boat for my 60th birthday, so my wife says, ‘Steve, just take off [and skip the meeting]. You’ll meet with him some other time,’” Harvey said. “God, I should’ve listened.”

Harvey told THR that he spoke with Trump about golf for 20 minutes and even divulged to him that he campaigned for Hillary Clinton, adding that Trump didn’t receive his vote. Harvey said he shared his ideas with Trump on how to use HUD funds to help closing schools in cities around the country and “reopen them as vision centers and teach STEM and computers and coding.” The comedian said Trump called Carson during the meeting.

Harvey said he has not spoken with Trump since Jan. 13, but he has met with Carson and has been to HUD twice.

“We have several teams in place,” he said regarding his work with HUD.

Harvey has six shows, one of which is a new daytime series called “Steve” that films in Los Angeles. But the comedian is still dealing with tarnish to his affable image following the leak of a memo he sent to staff members of his former show.

Harvey’s scathing memo was shared with Chicago media writer Robert Feder in May during “The Steve Harvey Show”’s final week of production in Chicago. Feder posted it on his blog.

“I promise you I will not entertain you in the hallway, and do not attempt to walk with me,” wrote Harvey.

Harvey made it crystal clear that staff should give him his space.

“I promise you I will not entertain you in the hallway, and do not attempt to walk with me,” wrote Harvey.

He told THR that “for four years, I tried to be congenial.”

“I’ll talk to people,” Harvey said. “’Hey, how you doing?’ But I started watching them take advantage of me.”

He sent out the memo out at the beginning of the year “so in year five I can just walk from backstage to my dressing room,” he said. “’Cause other celebrities, trust and believe, you can’t bother them.”

Harvey said an “angry” staff member who was not selected by his producer to join the “Steve” show team in Los Angeles leaked the memo.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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