by: Mark Winne Updated:
ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned that Georgians sat on both sides of a meeting Wednesday when the Trump transition team sat down with African-American leaders.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke exclusively with two local men who were at the table.
Clarence Cox, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives vice president, spoke to Winne via Facetime on Thursday as he was preparing to fly back to his metro Atlanta home from Washington after the Wednesday meeting.
Ashley Bell practices law in Georgia, but told Winne he's busy these days in D.C. with the transition team.
“The election's over. now it's time to govern. And that process begins with listening to people who ... did not support us in the general election,” Bell told Winne.
The meeting was "very positive. We enjoyed the fact again that we were invited to this table. So we made a comment if you are not at the table, normally you are on the menu,” Cox said. “Definitely a historic occasion.”
A meeting between key players on President-Elect Donald Trump's transition team and leaders from several predominantly African-American organizations.
Winne obtained a photo that book-ended Gainesville lawyer Ashley Bell, present as a member both of the Trump transition team and the Republican National Committee, and at the other end, Omarosa Manigault - one of Trump's most prominent African-American supporters during the campaign and has been working with his transition team.
“We spent 90 percent of our time listening to people's concerns. People want this nation united,” Bell told Winne. “I think people understand that this is history. We're standing with challenges that our country has never faced before and it's going to take solutions that we've never tried before."
Cox said Trump himself wasn’t there but "He had senior staffers there and the people (were) key members that were going to be able to carry out an agenda.”
Cox said he's a Democrat, and NOBLE had a good relationship with the Obama administration. But he's open if the new administration offers support for NOBLE's mission of equality and justice.
“We would be hypocritical if we were not open,” Cox said.
“Ultimately, there's more that unites us in this country than divides us and this meeting was a great example of that,” Bell said.
Bell's Atlanta law partner Quinton Washington said Bell was once a Democrat himself but switched to the Republican Party while a member of the Hall County Commission.
He said Bell's transition role involves the State Department, too. But for the RNC, he plays an important role in African-American outreach.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.