Steve Harvey Reveals What He Told Donald Trump During Their January Meeting

Family Feud host Steve Harvey met with Donald Trump at Trump Tower in January, and in a new interview, Harvey explained what he told the then president-elect.

While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Tuesday, Harvey said that he and Trump spoke about golf for about 20 minutes during their meeting. After that, Harvey told Trump that he did not vote for him.

“And then I told him, ‘Mr. President, I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t vote for you. I campaigned very hard for Hillary Clinton,'” Harvey told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I said, ‘The problem was that we made a lot of mistakes in the campaign. We were playing checkers and y’all was playing chess. But now that you’re here, you’re the 45th president and I’m going to help you.'”

Trump then asked him how he wants to help, and Harvey pitched the idea of taking inner city schools that are closed and reopening them as vision centers to teach STEM, computers, and coding. A few minutes later, Trump set up Harvey to speak with Ben Carson, the incoming secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Since then, Harvey says that he’s been to Housing and Urban Development twice and that hopefully before the end of the year, they’ll be announcing this program.

Steve Harvey meets with Donald Trump in January 2017

Steve Harvey meets with Donald Trump in January 2017. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When Harvey met with Donald Trump, there was an intense backlash. He told The Hollywood Reporter that he did not see this backlash coming, especially because the meeting wasn’t even his idea; it was proposed by President Obama’s transition team.

“…[M]y business partner got a call from the Obama transition team, who said that the Trump transition team would like to set up a meeting,” Harvey explained. “The Obama team said they thought it would be a good idea because the president is encouraging dialogue. And I have a relationship with Obama. We’re friends. So I say, ‘OK, cool.'”

Still, Harvey said that because he met with Trump, he was called names that he has never been called before, including “Uncle Tom. A coon. A sellout.” In the Hollywood Reporter interview, he joked that he was supposed to be celebrating his 60th birthday that day and his wife told him to just skip the meeting, something he now wishes he had done.

Harvey added that he has not spoken to President Trump since their January meeting.

Steve Harvey in August 2017

Steve Harvey in August 2017. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

In a statement released at the time of the meeting, Harvey said that he got the sense that Trump legitimately wants to help inner cities and that he is “congenial” and “sincere.”

“I walked away feeling like I had just talked with a man who genuinely wants to make a difference in this area,” Harvey said. “I feel that something really great could come out of this.”

Another topic in this new Hollywood Reporter interview was the leaked memo in which Harvey told the staff at his talk show not to approach him backstage. Harvey defended the memo, saying that he wasn’t being mean and that he won’t apologize for it. He also said that people might have thought he was yelling in the memo because he wrote certain words in all caps in order to emphasize them.