Conservative radio host Vicki McKenna got more than she bargained for when she went up against Errol Louis and political commentator David Swerdlick. McKenna attempted to claim that President-Elect Donald Trump understands the plight of blighted neighborhoods in Milwaukee better than Black Lives Matter or civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson.
McKenna asked the two black men if they'd rather see a cabinet position to go to a person with a particular skin color or someone who might help people of color.
"With all due respect, DeRay Mckesson has never come into the city of Milwaukee and said anything about a white south neighborhood, about urban poverty going on for the past 20 years that's been sucking the life blood out of the city of Milwaukee," McKenna said. She claimed that the civil rights leader has "said nothing about a lack of economic development."
She went on to ask the two men what any cabinet position has to do with solving the urban problems in cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin or anywhere else. "Black Lives Matter have stirred things up, said don't trust the police, allowed crime to explode, allowed the murder rate to explode. And essentially condemn the city of Milwaukee to machine politicians keeping people miserable and fearful for their lives."
Louis explained that the cabinet position for Housing and Urban Development helps work on these issues and that Trump has appointed a neurosurgeon to the post instead of an expert in policy, housing or in urban development. In fact, Louis explained that Trump meeting with ex-NFL players or celebrities instead of experts on issues facing urban communities was insulting to the black community.
"It's deeply insulting," Louis said. "I don't know that he cares or even recognizes it and it goes all the way through his cabinet picks. Like taking somebody who has never served in any government, not even the city council level, who's never done anything with urban development and takes Dr. Ben Carson, who is a very nice man, and put him in charge of a $50 billion budget with 8,000 employees and responsibility for some really, really important issues. Where this all ends up, I'm not sure. But this is not the way for Donald Trump, I think, to do what he said he's going to do, which is get 90 percent of the black vote when he runs for re-election."
Swerdlick agreed that the idea of taking his cues from the rich and famous wasn't the way to go.
"Trump's outreach to washed up football players and entertainers is really not the way to go if he really wants to build a bridge to African-Americans and people of color," Swerdlick echoed. He was more hopeful, however, that Trump could change course and begin talking to people who are experts in these fields.
He also noted that there were major issues that do matter more than the person's skin color but they are all issues Trump opposes.
"I happen to agree with Vicki that diversity in the cabinet is not as important as what those cabinet members do," Swerdlick continued. The Trump administration has signaled that they want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. That's something that is favored by 75 percent of African-Americans. They've signaled that they want to roll back some of President Obama's initiatives on the DREAMers. The majority of voters of color favor allowing the DREAMers to stay in this country legally. So, those are the things that I would agree with are more important than whether white men or someone else are in those top cabinet positions."
McKenna claimed that only she knew what was going on in her state and Swerdlick cut in to say that no one claimed that she didn't.
Louis argued that Trump doesn't take African-American outreach seriously, as evidenced by the fact that he made a reality TV star the head of black outreach on the campaign.
See the full exchange below: