By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA News Wire Contributor)
Only one day after declaring himself “the law and order candidate,” the campaign of the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump announced that he will not address the annual NAACP convention. The no-show will be only the fourth time since 1980 that a candidate running for the White House hasn’t spoken to the NAACP.
On July 12, NAACP President Cornell Brooks announced that Trump had declined the NAACP’s invitation to speak. Created in 1909 by W.E.B. DuBois, Mary Ovington and Moorfield Storey, the NAACP is the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S. The NAACP now has over 300,000 members.
This year, the 107th NAACP convention is in Cincinnati, Ohio, from July 16-20. Trump is scheduled to speak during the Republican National Convention less than 90 minutes away in Cleveland. The GOP convention runs from July 18 to 21.
The issue of race in America is back in primetime news after the police shootings caught on video of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., on July 5th and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn. on July 6. On July 7, a former Army veteran who may have had mental health issues, murdered five Dallas law enforcement officers at the end of a Black Lives Matter march.
The situation presents a perfect time for the presidential candidates to weigh in on issues of race, policing and justice in America. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will address the NAACP on Monday, July 18, the first day of the Republican National Convention.
“In every presidential election, we invite each of the candidates to address our convention, and we are delighted to have Secretary Clinton join us,” said NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock in a statement on July 11.
“Secretary Clinton will have the opportunity to address a gathering of dedicated activists and advocates from across the nation, and we are proud to offer a chance for the candidates to speak about the major issues affecting civil rights today,” Brock added.
“In these violent and horrifying times, when a new generation is waking to call for police accountability, economic and educational equality and protecting the right to vote for all people, this election marks a significant moral moment for America,” said NAACP President Brooks. “We look forward to hearing Secretary Clinton’s priorities and plan to advance our issues of social justice,” he added.
On July 11 in Virginia Beach Trump declared himself the “law and order candidate” and spoke on the problems of crime in the inner city. But he offered no policy solutions.
On July 12, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for national standards for police after receiving the endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in New Hampshire. Clinton also spoke on the problems of race and inequality in the justice system, a topic she has touched on often.
The snub of the NAACP is yet another setback to the effort of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to attract minority voters to the Republican Party. Despite the efforts of several Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the GOP nominee for president is yet to display a deep interest in serious policy driven outreach to African American and Hispanic voters.
Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst and the CEO of Win Digital Media. She can be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke.