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Reporter: Kanye visit was odd, sad

CNN's Dana Bash and Nia-Malika Henderson react to Kanye West's visit to the Oval Office with President Trump.

Posted: Oct 12, 2018 3:53 PM
Updated: Oct 12, 2018 4:08 PM

Imagine this: A president, concerned about the opioid crisis that is ravaging many communities, particularly white, Midwestern communities, invites a retired football player and a famous musician to talk about the crisis.

And imagine that this is one of the few high-level meetings he has about the crisis, which has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.

Well, that is kind of what just happened.

Not with the opioids, but with the critical, potentially lethal, issues facing many African-Americans across the country. On Thursday, President Donald Trump had a working lunch with Kanye West and retired football player Jim Brown.

This was the meeting's preview sent by the White House ahead of time: "The discussion will be centered on President Trump's historic work to benefit all Americans such as urban revitalization, the creation of Opportunity Zones, new workforce training programs, record highs in African American employment, the creation of manufacturing jobs, ideas from his meeting with African American pastors, potential future clemencies, and addressing the massive violent crime surge in Chicago."

Shorter readout: This was Trump's black people meeting.

What a meeting it was. No cameras were allowed in the lunch, but West's about 10-minute soliloquy in the Oval Office provided a window into the ground covered.

Here are some ideas West raised:

  • Bring Trump factories and Yeezy ideation centers to Chicago.
  • His MAGA hat makes him feel like a superhero.
  • Make the dopest ... no the "flyest" cars.
  • School is boring. Kids should play basketball while they are doing math.
  • Time doesn't exist.
  • Stop worrying about the future. We only have today.
  • Trump and Colin Kaepernick wearing "Make America Great" hats at the Super Bowl.
  • Stop-and-frisk is bad.
  • The solution to police brutality is love.
  • Something about an Iplane.
  • Opening up industries and tax breaks.
  • Something about liberals distracting black people by focusing on racism.

So, what were the goals here?

For Trump, it was a chance for him to say, Trump does care about black people, but don't take my word for it, listen to Kanye West.

But what the meeting highlighted was how few African-Americans Trump has in his circle. Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who wrote a scathing tell-all on Trump, hasn't been replaced.

The meeting also highlights how seriously Trump takes issues that his base doesn't really care about.

Rather than invite real policy experts, say on education or criminal justice, Trump brought before the cameras two famous black men who like him.

The result was about what one would expect -- a hard-to-parse, bizarre Oval Office moment with very little substance fueled by West's desperate need for attention and Trump's need for open adoration by famous people.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 468498

Reported Deaths: 9100
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison31907468
Hinds30552569
DeSoto29532342
Jackson22868335
Rankin21016355
Lee14393214
Madison13961263
Jones13053215
Forrest12879231
Lauderdale11244292
Lowndes10148171
Lamar9972122
Pearl River8569208
Lafayette8008136
Hancock7110107
Oktibbeha6764117
Washington6756146
Neshoba6350200
Monroe6304156
Warren6267159
Panola6036122
Pontotoc599292
Bolivar5960143
Marshall5917115
Union558885
Pike5424133
Lincoln5192127
Alcorn509388
George454766
Scott447392
Leflore4377138
Tippah431780
Itawamba429192
Prentiss429074
Copiah423883
Simpson4238108
Wayne419663
Tate418999
Adams4174109
Yazoo411486
Sunflower4057104
Covington404891
Marion399699
Leake389784
Coahoma385996
Newton360273
Grenada3489100
Stone342657
Tishomingo320987
Attala318285
Jasper308261
Winston298191
Clay282672
Chickasaw277464
Clarke271784
Holmes257685
Calhoun256939
Smith241546
Yalobusha215447
Tallahatchie213849
Walthall203457
Lawrence202431
Greene202045
Perry195053
Amite191251
Webster191141
Noxubee173437
Montgomery168652
Jefferson Davis164041
Carroll158936
Tunica146533
Benton137531
Kemper136538
Claiborne124134
Choctaw123824
Humphreys122036
Franklin114127
Quitman100925
Wilkinson98335
Jefferson85832
Sharkey61620
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 757893

Reported Deaths: 12784
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1082301712
Mobile694251158
Madison47738562
Baldwin35347420
Shelby34758281
Tuscaloosa32576495
Montgomery32249645
Lee21576200
Calhoun19621363
Morgan19061307
Etowah18363413
Marshall17028252
Houston15881337
St. Clair14724270
Limestone13908178
Elmore13812239
Cullman13756228
Lauderdale12909263
Talladega12124200
DeKalb11705220
Walker10047303
Autauga9371119
Blount9272146
Jackson8970132
Coffee8550150
Colbert8229160
Dale8162142
Escambia632298
Tallapoosa6255165
Covington6214153
Chilton6152128
Russell586753
Franklin558292
Chambers5155127
Dallas4569173
Marion4490114
Clarke447070
Pike439188
Geneva415999
Lawrence4002101
Winston399982
Bibb388975
Barbour334667
Marengo317778
Monroe306844
Butler305878
Pickens296166
Henry288550
Randolph288255
Hale282981
Cherokee275649
Fayette268569
Washington241844
Crenshaw226962
Clay219260
Macon211154
Cleburne205746
Lamar184638
Conecuh173337
Lowndes167856
Coosa160031
Wilcox153033
Bullock145642
Perry132430
Sumter122635
Greene117941
Choctaw71925
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