In a recent segment on CNN’s Tonight With Don Lemon, things got pretty heated when an all-Black panel, featuring our favorite homegirl Angela Rye, debated how Trump’s proposed 2018 budget will negatively impact African-Americans.
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Don Lemon started off by insisting that during the campaign, Donald Trump told Black voters over and over again that they had “nothing to lose” in voting for him. However, looking at the massive cuts to departments and programs that African-Americans rely on show that we have a lot to lose.
Paris Dennard, a Trump supporter who played an integral role in the HBCU executive order, started by talking about how Trump didn’t make any cuts to HBCUs. However, Rye reminded Dennard that Trump promised to make HBCUs a priority, which wasn’t reflected in the new budget—this was just the status quo.
She also pointed out Dennard’s hypocrisy in praising Trump on this issue.
“[Trump] kept the same amount of money Paris that I have heard you complain about under President Obama, that is why my mouth dropped open. You are right on the numbers, but I just can’t believe that you are now defending the same numbers. Please at least hold your guy accountable on this. You are the champion for HBCUs,” she said.
Naturally, Dennard pivoted and made it about his disdain for the millions in cuts that former President Obama made to HBCUs when he was in office.
Rye’s response? “He gonna have me cuss on TV.”
Soon after, it was Lemon’s turn to get crunk with Dennard. Given the massive cuts in departments such as the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lemon pressed Dennard on why he was only willing to speak about HBCUs.
“So a lot of people say HBCUs are important,” Lemon declared.
“But there are a lot of people watching here tonight going, ‘HBCUs? I gotta eat, I gotta live somewhere. Great, yes, I would love to send my kid to a college, any college,’ and hopefully, maybe they want to send them to an HBCU, but why are you rambling on about HBCUs when we’re talking about urban development, about other education, about health and human services? There are more important issues than HBCUs.”
“Whoa, Don,” Dennard said, “I would caution you by saying, by saying to all those 300,000 students who attend HBCUs — “
But Lemon wasn’t here for having his words twisted.
“I said there are more important issues. Don’t put words in my mouth, did you hear what I said? I said there are more important issues.”
Lemon added: “Paris, look, my entire family went to HBCUs, don’t give me the lesson, I know what HBCUs, look at me, I know what they are, and I’m a product of an HBCU family. My point is there are more important things than HBCUs and you keep, you keep pointing to one of them, when I’ve gone down a list of things that are really important, and when I’m telling you that I’d rather eat than, or some people it’s the priority for them is to eat rather than where they’re going to go to college.”
Paris snapped back saying that Trump’s increase in border control will benefit African-Americans by providing them with more job opportunities.
“When you look at things like building the wall,” Dennard explained, “and enforcement and things that are going to directly impact jobs, there are monies going into DHS, which is going to lead to more jobs — ICE officers and immigration officers, which African-Americans can get those jobs. So you can make fun of HBCUs—”
Interrupting him, Lemon was very quick to point out that he never made fun of HBCUs.
“Paris wait, don’t say I made fun of HBCUs, that’s a flat-out lie,” Lemon protested, “That’s not, I didn’t make fun of HBCUs…That’s a lie.”
Another panelist Shermichael Singleton jumped in to bring everything back into perspective.
“OK, the president did not cut HBCUs, the funding remains the same as it did prior to the president being sworn in. OK, that’s fine, but I want to talk about more critical issues such as housing. For example, 85 percent of HUD’s budget, which oversees housing for a lot of poor people, who happen to be African-American, 85 percent is residual, so you decreased the budget by $6.3 billion and you will see a net loss of people who rely on housing vouchers,” he explained.
Singleton also stressed that Black folks on average are not concerned with a border wall—we have bigger fish to fry.
“Many African-Americans are not concerned about a border wall. I hate to say that, many are not. When there’s a large number of African-Americans who are living in communities where they’re now going to have to worry if they are currently relying on a housing voucher, is that housing voucher still going to be there. If you’re a single mother and you rely on WIC [Women, Infants and Children], will that program still be there?”
Toward the end of the panel everyone seemed drained by Dennard’s ridiculous. But thankfully for us, Rye got the last word.
“It’s incumbent on us to tell the truth about what’s in [the budget] and what’s in is a cut to the small businesses…Ben Carson tweeted today that small businesses are the backbone of this country. This a budget that cuts the minority business agency…there are cuts to WIC and SNAP program benefits. That is a fact.”
She brilliantly ends the segment quoting Outkast to point out how funds that could help African-Americans are being used to build a wall that we all have to pay for.
“He lied. It’s not Mexico; it’s me and you and your mama too.”
Can someone please give Angela her own show? Seriously.