*We don’t know if they held their noses when it happened, but the Congressional Black Caucus met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday for “candid” discussion on how to tackle high prescription drug prices and other subjects.
“I think we’re going to do it in health care, or we’re going to do it separately, but we’re going to bid down drug prices, and we’re going to try to have the lowest prices anywhere in the world from really the highest,” Trump told the lawmakers, according to a pool report.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a CBC member, and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) held what they called a positive meeting with Trump two weeks ago, focused on allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. Trump also has signaled interest in allowing imports of cheaper Canadian prescription drugs — an issue championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other Democrats, reports Politico.
Richmond and fellow CBC members were eager for a substantive sit-down with Trump that would address the president’s infamous campaign pitch to African-American voters, which alienated lawmakers in the caucus.
“We wanted to answer for him the question of what do we have to lose,” Richmond said, speaking outside the White House flanked by six fellow members of the caucus.
The CBC released a 129-page briefing book that its members offered to Trump during the meeting, entitled “We Have A Lot to Lose: Solutions to Advance Black Families in the 21st Century.”
Members of the caucus kicked off their remarks by jokingly thanking American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan for setting up the meeting — a reference to a Trump back-and-forth last month with Ryan, who is African-American. During a recent televised news conference, Trump asked Ryan if the CBC members were “friends of yours” and if she would set up a meeting with the CBC for him.
The meeting also involved “candid” discussion of certain concerns, including Trump’s depictions of black communities as crime-ridden and voting rights, Richmond said.
“We never thought we’d agree on everything in this meeting,” he added. “But the one thing that we did ask is for both sides to be candid so that we could represent our constituents to the best of our ability. … He listened and we talked and we proposed a lot of solutions, many of which I think he had not heard before.”
Richmond also responded to criticism levied about the CBC’s decision to meet with Trump at all, given his role in stoking the birther lie about former President Barack Obama and previous comments that were perceived by some as racist.
“We don’t have the luxury to not meet with the president,” Richmond replied, “because our people are going to suffer — the 78 million we represent.”
Story source: Politico