Steve Harvey is defending his face-to-face with President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE, saying, “Change can only happen when we sit at the table.”
“If we sit at the table, then we can have a say as to what’s to be eaten on the menu,” the TV host said Monday on his radio show while deflecting criticism of his meeting with Trump. “I have an obligation to take a seat at the table when invited.”
The comedian and face of “The Steve Harvey Show” and "Family Feud" touched down at Trump Tower on Friday for a one-on-one that he said came at the president-elect’s request. In comments to reporters immediately following the meeting, Harvey said he discussed urban development with a “really sincere” Trump.
Harvey — who had been critical of Trump during the 2016 White House race — called it “important” to meet with the real estate mogul because “the only way we can heal the divide in this country is through conversation.”
The entertainer gave credit to Trump, saying after he told the president-elect he wanted to "aid in any way I could to help improve the housing conditions in the inner cities," Trump "immediately got Dr. Ben Carson on the phone." Carson is Trump's pick to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"I've never seen anybody jump into action so quickly at a request," Harvey exclaimed. "I'm not a politician, so quite naturally I'm thinking there's a ton of red tape."
But Harvey, 60, expressed surprise at the intense backlash he said he received.
“On a personal note, a lot of ya’ll hurt me. You really did. I didn’t expect the backlash to be so fierce,” he said.
“If I’m going to keep getting stabbed at, then at least while you’re stabbing me, you should understand my intent for taking the meeting in the first place.”
Harvey said his get-together with Trump left him hopeful: “When I walked away, [I was] feeling like there might be a real chance for some positive to come out of what so many people think is all gloom and doom.”