President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTo Build Back Better, improving Black women's health is a must Rahm Emanuel has earned M since leaving Chicago's city hall: report 60 years after the Peace Corps, service still brings Americans together MORE will appear at a dinner for the Congressional Black Caucus next weekend, in a sign that tensions between the White House and black lawmakers over some of the president’s judicial picks may be dissipating.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced the president's attendance as the keynote address at the CBC’s annual Phoenix Awards Dinner on Friday.
“We are again honored to have former CBC member President Barack Obama address this year’s Phoenix Awards Dinner,” A. Shuanise Washington, president and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, said in a statement.
“Since the beginning of his first term, President Obama’s administration has been on the front lines in the ongoing fight for social justice, equal access to healthcare and economic empowerment for all Americans,” he continued. “We are proud to call him a partner in our mission to eliminate the civil and social disparities that many African Americans and black communities continue to face.”
Earlier this year, members of the CBC publicly expressed frustration with the White House over a lack of diversity in the president's judicial picks.
Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett met with lawmakers in February to address their concerns, but members of the CBC continued to protest the White House's nomination of Michael Boggs, a Georgia appeals judge.
Black lawmakers were upset by the nomination because, as a member of the state legislature, Boggs backed bills to bar gay marriage, restrict abortion rights and keep the Confederate battle emblem on the Georgia state flag.
At the president's speech at the awards banquet in 2013, Obama criticized Republicans for blocking a bill to strengthen gun control.
“We can’t rest until all of our children can go to school or walk down the street free from the fear that they will be struck down by a stray bullet," Obama said.