Trump sidesteps convos about race with critics, meets with retired NFL player to discuss 'black America'

Trump also took the unusual step of intervening in rapper A$AP Rocky's case.

July 22, 2019, 4:46 PM

After a week of backlash for his comments about four minority Congresswomen that many called "racist," as well as chants targeting one of those congresswomen at his rally, President Donald Trump privately met with former NFL player and conservative commentator Jack Brewer at his Bedminster Golf Course to talk about "black America," Brewer told ABC News.

Trump has been criticized by both the left and right for tweeting that the four Democratic congresswomen -- Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley -- should "go back" to where they came from, and then for standing by silently while a North Carolina crowd chanted "send her back" about Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Instead of addressing the painful history the words “go back” have played in the minority community, the president has acted in other ways that appear to be attempts to address feelings of alienation.

President Trump made the unusual move of intervening in the case of black rapper A$AP Rocky, who is currently being detained in Sweden for an alleged assault. After telling reporters that Rocky "has tremendous support from the African American community," Trump held a 20 minute phone call with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven on Saturday asking him for leniency.

President Donald Trump with Jack Brewer at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., July 20, 2019.
Courtesy Jack Brewer

Trump also met with Brewer, a Trump supporter who is a frequent commentator on FOX News and writes columns for conservative website Newsmax. Brewer's most recent article was titled "4 Ways Trump has done More For African Americans than Barack Obama."

"My goal is to help calm this wave," Brewer told ABC News in a phone interview about the tensions between the black community and Trump. "It's all about emotion."

Brewer said he and the president did not specifically speak about the latest controversy regarding the four congresswomen and the rally chant, saying that his agenda was criminal justice reform and how it's impacting the African American community.

"I came to talk about what's been done. Thousands of black families have their dads now," said Brewer, referring to the announcement on Friday that 3,100 inmates were released from prison under the First Step Act.

"I was focused on discussing issues that are making a real impact for black families in America. Period."

"It felt good hearing his passion," Brewer added.

Brewer played professional football for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals, and said he now works as a philanthropist.

A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

On Sunday, civil rights icon Rep. Elijah Cummings called President Trump a "racist," telling ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos "I believe he is -- yes, no doubt it."

Referring to the "send her back" chants about Rep. Omar, Cummings said, "when I hear those things, it takes me back."