Members of the Congressional Black Caucus made a silent but strong statement during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday, wearing African kente cloth to protest disparaging remarks the president made about African nations.
CBC Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) explained at a Tuesday press conference that while some members of the caucus would skip the address, others would stare “racism, bigotry, inequality, and injustice in the face” by attending the president's speech.
Many of our members attended the #SOTU to stare racism in the face. Both those who attended & those who didn't wore Kente cloth to protest @realDonaldTrump’s “shithole” comments about #Africa & #Haiti & to stand in solidarity w/ Africans & people of African descent worldwide. pic.twitter.com/YodkFhnTKp
— Black Caucus (@OfficialCBC) January 31, 2018
Kente is a famous African textile originating from Ghana in West Africa:
— Rep. Bobby Scott (@BobbyScott) January 31, 2018
CBC members donned scarfs, ties, and bowties made of kente in protest of the president disparaging African nations as “sh*thole” countries:
The circus has just begun, I mean welcome to the House Mr. (so-called) President pic.twitter.com/ohTn2uSE4W
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) January 31, 2018
“There is nothing promising about President Trump's ability to read a speech from a teleprompter,” Richmond said in a statement after the address.
Richmond also took aim at Trump's claim that black unemployment has fallen because of the actions of his administration:
"Every action taken by him over the past year has been destructive for poor, working-class, and middle-class communities throughout this country, as well as communities of color. He said nothing tonight that wipes that slate clean.
He boasts about a booming economy, but it is not something he can take credit for. Much like the money he inherited from his father to start his business, President Trump inherited a growing economy from President Obama. The low black unemployment rate he boasted about has been falling for eight years and has only changed by 1 percent since he took office. In addition, while the black unemployment rate is at an historic low, it is still double the rate of white unemployment and doesn't take into account the fact that African-Americans are disproportionately underemployed and underpaid."
“The Congressional Black Caucus can now answer the question he posed to the African-American community in 2016 with 100 percent certainty: African-Americans have a lot to lose under the Trump Administration, and we have lost a lot already, especially when it comes to his justice, voting rights, education, housing, and health care policies,” Richmond said.
“President Trump is still who we thought he was, and we won't be fooled by this speech.”