A planned visit by President Donald Trump to Baltimore on Wednesday has been called off, and a discussion of the administration’s urban revitalization policies will take place at the White House instead.
Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said Monday that the change was for scheduling reasons and that the event would still include people from Baltimore.
Deere said the president would make remarks “highlighting the administration’s agenda to expand the economic boom to all Americans, especially those in distressed communities — both rural and urban.”
At the invitation of a Baltimore pastor, Trump had been planning to come to the city to discuss opportunity zones, poor neighborhoods singled out for special tax breaks under Republicans’ rewrite of the federal tax code.
The Rev. Donte Hickman, the pastor who extended the invitation, said White House officials told him early Monday that changes underway at the White House due to the recently announced departure of Chief of Staff John Kelly meant the visit would no longer be possible for scheduling reasons.
But, Hickman said, the White House told him that officials want to reschedule a visit to Baltimore in the new year.
The visit would have brought Trump to one of the most struggling city neighborhoods. The blocks surrounding Hickman’s Southern Baptist Church in Broadway East are home to dozens of vacant houses, though Hickman’s North Chester Street church has sponsored new housing in the neighborhood. That includes an apartment building and community center that was under construction when it was destroyed in a suspected arson during the rioting of April 2015, after the death of Freddie Gray. But the church managed to rebuild the Mary Harvin Senior Center within the next year.
Hickman said Monday he was disappointed that the president would not be visiting.
“I think this was a major opportunity for the president and for Baltimore,” he said.
Again, the Baltimore visit is exactly what Trump says he wants to highlight for black voters, Christian outreach, community leadership, and rebuilding after the Obama administration. Weird then that Trump can't bring himself to actually go there.
Why, it's almost like Trump's outreach to black voters is complete bullshit, considering he can't get enough signaling to white supremacists on a constant basis.
Who knew, right?