Members of the Congressional Black Caucus told Politico this week that they have developed a plan to resist the president-elect's policies and agenda, vowing to stand as "the last line of defense between Donald Trump and the worst of what America could offer."
Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) threw down the gauntlet against President-elect Donald Trump recently, declaring in an appearance on MSNBC that she has “no intention in pretending everything is alright, that we’re going to work together,” and promising, particularly in her role as a ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, that she is “going to fight him every inch of the way.”
Now some of her fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus have taken an unprecedented move in this vein of developing plans to resist Trump’s policies on every level. In interviews with Politico, several members of the caucus have pledged to take what steps they can to protect their constituents from the Trump administration’s potential overreaches and abuses of power, which would wreak particular harm on Black communities.
Following Trump’s campaign — in which the sum total of his outreach to Black voters was to ask them, “What the hell do you have to lose?” by voting for him — and in light of his numerous cabinet and staffing picks with ties to white supremacy, many in the CBC felt the unusual decision to form a preemptive plan to combat the incoming president was duly warranted. As Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) noted, “This is not the normal incoming president.”
And as Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) stated, “The stakes are incredibly high and our community is counting on us as the last line of defense between Donald Trump and the worst of what America could offer.”
Concerns about the future of civil rights and voting rights, particularly under Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) are front and center, as well as the white supremacist ideology of Trump’s senior advisor Steve Bannon. Appointments like these “should concern not just minorities but all Americans,” said Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
The exact nature of the resistance is still coming together, but with Representative John Lewis (D-GA) in the caucus, there has been talk of non-violent action similar to the sit-in for gun control that Lewis initiated on the House floor last year.
While some Republican members of the caucus are urging a wait-and-see approach — Representative Tim Scott (R-SC), for example, took a stance of “Let’s give Mr. Trump a chance.” — they are certainly in the minority among the caucus members who have pledged to fight, including the incoming chairman, Representative Cedric Richmond (D-LA).
Richmond commented that it is necessary for the Black caucus to be unified and prepared, pointedly evoking a history of Black activism in the United States:
We’ve dealt with loud, bombastic people our entire life. Ask our seniors and elders who went through the segregation in the civil rights movement. … We’ll just go back to that fight and remember tactics from those days. But the one thing that will be clear is we’re going to have to be unified and we’re going to have to be focused and very strategic.
The work is just starting as the most diverse Congress in history is sworn in. And the Congressional Black Caucus stands ready to fight Trump’s policies in every way they can.