President-elect Donald Trump was praised by black leaders on Wednesday for the “listening session” held by Omarosa Manigault and other members of his transition team.
Manigault, a former “Apprentice” contestant, was an outspoken Trump supporter during the presidential campaign and was named the incoming Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison, Wednesday.
CNN reported that the meeting was designed for Trump to begin his outreach to the African-American community. An estimated 100 leaders from various African-American organizations were in attendance.
Bishop Harry Jackson, a conservative activist and evangelical leader, called the meeting a “starting point” for members of the community to discuss their priorities and state their agenda, praising the Trump transition’s “openness” to listening.
“You have an outsider and an outside team. They’re not going to do business as usual, they don’t even know how to spell business as usual. For that reason, I’m optimistic,” Jackson said, calling the meeting’s atmosphere “very civil” and “a very sophisticated meet-and-greet.”
Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau director and senior vice president for advocacy and policy, said the meeting “could be a great start.”
“What happens at this point is in the hands of the administration,” Shelton added.
Multiple attendees praised Manigault, calling her “very impressive” and “a great leader,” noting that she asked follow-up questions, particularly about data and resources.
“It was clear that she is going to help keep some of the promises of the Trump campaign and bring those forward to be actual actions in the Trump administration,” said Johnny Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “I think we’re going to see some major strides in issues that matter most to our community.”
While Trump only secured 8 percent of black voters in the 2016 presidential election, Manigault said Wednesday evening that there is a “huge movement” of African-Americans moving to the Republican Party.
“Traditionally, African Americans have been Democrat, and I think the Democrats have taken advantage and taken for granted the African-American vote,” Manigault told Megyn Kelly on ‘The Kelly File.’
“You are seeing a huge movement of African Americans to the GOP and I am one of them,” she added.
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