Last Friday, President Donald Trump signed into law a $1.1 trillion spending bill along with a signed statement where the former business mogul suggested that a provision that funds construction at HBCUs was unconstitutional. In a joint simulcast with the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Roland Martin examined President Trump’s statement along with the NewsOne Now panel.
Martin opened up the discussion to Lezli Baskerville, president and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. Baskerville noted to Martin that President Trump may have been poorly advised on what the provision meant.
Baskerville, a lawyer by trade, explained that there is indeed a provision in the United States Constitution that laws and regulations that are racially or ethnicity based can be scrutinized. Essentially speaking, if there was preferential funding given to HBCUs, this provision would bar that from happening in what seems to be a bid to stave off bias.
Baskerville continued by saying, “[T]he problem with [Trump’s stance] is that historically black colleges and universities are that, historically Black. They were born out of the nation’s sorry history of slavery and, as part of the definition, they are there to educate the progeny of the American slave and African-Americans by and large.”
Martin noted that his contact with Black Republicans taken aback by the president’s statement was ongoing throughout the weekend, which may have culminated in Trump walking back the statement and throwing his full support behind HBCUs in a separate written statement.
Watch Roland Martin and Lezli Baskerville of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education break down President Donald Trump’s HBCU gaffe in the NewsOne Now clip above.