The president-elect 'genuinely wants to make a difference,' says Harvey
Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Steve Harvey defended his meeting with Donald Trump on Friday, writing on Twitter that the president-elect was “congenial and sincere” during their discussion about helping the inner cities.

“Our president (Obama) asked that all of us sit down and talk to one another in order to move our country forward,” the Family Feud host wrote. “The transition teams on both sides asked me to meet and I’m glad I did. I found him in our meeting both congenial and sincere. Trump wants to help with the situations in the inner cities so he immediately got Dr. Ben Carson on the phone to put us together to begin dialog in looking at programs and housing to help our inner cities and he’s very open to my mentoring efforts across the country. I walked away feeling like I had just talked with a man who genuinely wants to make a difference in this area. I feel that something really great could come out of this. I would sit with him anytime.”

Harvey met with Trump inside New York’s Trump Tower on Friday afternoon and told reporters the transition teams first contacted him last week. “It’s just me following orders from my friend, President Obama, who said, ‘Steve, you got to’ — as he told everybody, ‘Get out from behind your computers. Stop tweeting and texting, get out there and sit down and talk,'” Harvey explained to reporters. “So I stepped out from behind my microphone and I came and talk to the guy who’s going to be the 45th President of the United States. I did what I was supposed to do.”

Asked by reporters whether Trump and his family would ever appear on Family Feud, Harvey joked, “The Trumps being on Family Feud? Against the Obamas? That’d be good. Or how about the Clintons?”

The meeting followed a week of intense criticism directed at Harvey, who faced backlash for an offensive joke about Asian men he made on his talk show. Harvey acknowledged the uproar Friday when speaking with reporters, saying, “We laughed a little bit. I haven’t been laughing that much over the past few days, they’re kind of beating me up on the internet for no reason, but that’s life.”

Following Harvey’s appearance at Trump Tower, stars like Constance Wu and Ava DuVernay criticized the television host on Twitter for both the Trump chat and his offensive joke.

“I wondered who’d be the first to give into the old ‘they need help with the inner-cities’ ploy,” DuVernay wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “Asked and answered.” (She later posted, “My mother wouldn’t like that, so I’m just gonna walk away.”)

Wu was more direct in her criticism, tagging Harvey in her tweet: “@IAmSteveHarvey the narrow limits of ur small brained perception of human love are gross & untrue. It’s not even funny. U just sound dumb,” referring to the joke.

Watch Harvey’s full talk with reporters here.