Comedian Steve Harvey met with President-elect Donald Trump and discussed casual topics such as golf and serious ones such as improving opportunities in inner-city communities.
“It’s an honor to be invited to talk, and I think that’s the only way that we’re going to unify our country,” he said.”We’ve got to talk. I really enjoyed the conversation. He’s a genuine person when you meet him.”
He also talked with Ben Carson, Trump’s one-time political adversary and now his nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Harvey indicated that his discussion with Trump and his team could be the first of an ongoing arrangement.
“We got off to a great start. I think it could be the beginning of something,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in inner-city problems, because they’re huge.”
He was quick to note he has no political aspirations, quipping, “I ain’t gonna pass a background check,” but said he met with Trump and his team at the behest of President Barack Obama.
“It’s just me following orders from my friend President Obama,” he said. “He said, ‘Steve, you’ve got to get out from behind your computer. Stop tweeting and texting and get out there and sit down and talk.' So I stepped from behind my microphone and I came and talked to the guy who’s going to be the 45th president of the United States.”
The outgoing and incoming transition teams facilitated the meeting, he said. Harvey will not attend the inauguration, because he is taking a trip to celebrate his 60th birthday with his wife, Marjorie, instead.
Someone asked if he’d like to book the Trumps on “Family Feud.”
“Against the Obamas? That’d be good,” he said with a chuckle. “Or how about the Clintons? If I could set it up, it would be skyrocketing for the ratings.”
Harvey has been in the news the past couple of days after his jokes about women dating Asian men drew a backlash. He referred to the matter only in passing, saying he’s been getting beat up online “for no reason.”
He didn’t stray much into other political news of the day.
“I’m not a politician,” Harvey said afterward, declining to offer his opinion on U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions‘ nomination to the position of attorney general and the contentious hearing process that has followed.
“It was a successful meeting,” Harvey said of his gathering with Trump. “He seemed really sincere.”