It was only natural, in this social media-crazed world, that the first significant order of business after Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation’s 45th president was the transfer of the commander in chief’s official Twitter account.
Trump inherited the @POTUS twitter handle that originated with Barack Obama, whose tweets and millions of followers were automatically moved to his new @POTUS44 account.
And as power — digital and otherwise — has been transferred, many are asking, “Now what?” — particularly African-Americans still wincing at Trump’s infamous campaign courtship of blacks: “What the hell do you have to lose?”
Charles Steele Jr., president and CEO of the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, joined dozens other African-Americans — members of the civil rights community and various local leaders — in a closed-door meeting with members of Trump’s transition team earlier this month.
The group came together after an exchange of emails and phone calls and at the behest of the transition team, including Omarosa Manigault, who was named as assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison.
“Omarosa and the SCLC are friends,” said Steele, who heads the organization once led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “I’ve known her for a few years. Our relationship is built around the civil rights community and the philosophy of peace and nonviolence.”
Trump was not in the meeting, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Those invited — including Dr. Benjamin Chavis of the NNPA, who was promised by Manigault to conduct Trump’s first interview with the Black Press — talked about the history of the civil rights movement and their concerns about issues such as voter suppression and the plight of the poor.
The talks also revolved around access to affordable health care and opening up lines of credit for poor people, AJC reported.
Steele said he outlined the work his organization does in training people to use methods of nonviolent social change.
“We are Americans and we must work together in terms of embarking into the future and making American more inclusive,” Steele said. “We’re not going anywhere in terms of what we do for civil rights, but we want an ally.”
But shortly after Trump’s inaugural speech, many said they believe that new president will be as much a disaster as first feared.
“The man does not seem capable of being magnanimous,” wrote Jill Abramson, a political columnist for the Guardian and visiting lecturer in the English department at Harvard University. “President Trump drew a dark picture of a country under siege from foreign trade competitors, Muslim terrorists and Washington insiders. There were no grace notes.
“His base no doubt loved it,” Abramson wrote. “But, there was no reassurance or olive branch extended to most Americans who did not vote for him. While he named President Bill Clinton, there was no mention of his wife, the vanquished opponent. There were no good wishes extended to President George HW Bush or his wife, who were hospitalized, but did not endorse him.”
Indeed, after calling the Obamas “magnificent,” he was then overtly rude to them, portraying a do-nothing Washington that had betrayed the people and enriched itself, Abramson said.
“In a gratuitous slap that echoed his wild and crazy insult to Rep. John Lewis on Twitter, he lambasted politicians, presumably all Democrats o the reviewing stand behind him, who ‘complain’ but fail to get things done,” she said. “And, the biggest lie of all when the narcissist proclaimed, ‘I will never let you down.’ He already has.”