Do President Trump and Sean Spicer know that Frederick Douglass hasn’t been alive since 1895?
That’s been a serious question since yesterday’s White House event where president Trump’s praises of the famous scholar and abolitionist implied that he believes Douglass was still alive.
“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice,” Trump said at the listening session event kicking off the first day of Black History Month.
As a rookie politician, no one expects Trump to be well-versed on all the government processes. That said, after campaigning on the premise that he’s a champion of the black community trump’s comments highlight an inability to speak credibly about black history.
At the daily White House briefing one reporter asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer to elaborate on trumps remarks about Douglass’ contributions.
“I think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made,” Spicer answered. “And I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he’s going to make; I think the contributions of Fredrick Douglass will become more and more.”
Neither Trump nor Spicer knew who the former slave, abolitionist, and famous scholar was. His name wasn’t brought up on some awkward public Pop Quiz either…Trump mentioned it himself. He went on to speak about his election successes with African-Americans and, with his trademark showmanship, repeatedly called out news organizations he’s currently speaking out against at almost every public opportunity.
Many have become dismissive of any Trump critique and write it off as unwillingness to accept a Republican administration. In this case President Bush provides a good example of republican leadership doing an excellent job of honoring Black History Month. Perhaps ironically, he also honors John Lewis in his address.