February is Black History Month in the US. Following in the tradition of past presidents, Trump held an event on Monday, Jan. 30, to mark the occasion. His event was called a “listening session”. He invited a lot of African-American people from various walks of life to attend the session, and opened the event with his own reflections on black history in the US.
Since we already know the man is a buffoonish carnival barker, it will come as no surprise that his remarks displayed a deplorably shallow knowledge on the subjects of black life, black history, and the contributions of prominent African-Americans throughout our history as a country. However unsurprising his ignorance might be, what is remarkable is that the sitting president of the US didn’t even bother pretending to be interested in the topic. He clearly hadn’t even asked a staffer to do some internet searches and come up with some facts on a few prominent blacks that he could mention, or a couple of notable quotes from them that he could include in his introduction. He couldn’t even bring himself to offer up a single sentence about slavery or the civil rights movement. There was no symbolic reference to unity or equality. He never uttered the name Obama, although certainly the occasion must have invoked at least the passing thought of our first black president. Trump’s remarks were almost entirely about….Trump.
Here’s what he had to say about Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.: “Last month, we celebrated the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office, and it turned out that that was fake news. (Laughter.) It was fake news. The statue is cherished. It’s one of the favorite things in the — and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln and we have Jefferson and we have Dr. Martin Luther King, and we have — but they said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is. Very unfortunate.”
There ya go; Dr. king reduced to being merely a bust in the White House, which is apparently the sum total of what makes him a famous black person in Trump’s wee little brain. That was the end of Trump’s commentary on Dr. King.
Trump mentioned Frederick Douglass as well and apparently thinks the man is still alive and is busy doing an amazing job at something or another these days: “I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice — Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.” Okay, so he knows the names of four black people from history, but he does mention “millions more”, so I suppose that counts for something. Someone in the press noticed the use of the present tense in Trump’s sentence about Douglass and asked the president’s press secretary about it a day or two later. Sean Spicer, not to be outdone by his boss in exhibiting blind ignorance to the public, said, “I think he [Trump] wants to highlight the contributions that he [Douglass] has made. And I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he’s going to make, I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.” Whatever the hell most of that gobblety-gook statement means, it’s obvious as fuck that Sean Spicer doesn’t know who Douglass is either, and also thinks he is still alive and kicking. Douglass died in 1895. But you knew that, right? Because you took a second to freaking “google” it, which neither of these two white crackers did before talking in public. I’m sure by the time Betsy Devos gets done “improving” our school systems as the new head of the Dept. of Education, nobody else will know jackshit about Douglass either; or about anything else, for that matter. (She’ll be approved for the position; her brother, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, being such a close advisor to Trump and all guarantees that she will be heading that agency – one way or another.)
Trump made sure to mention his new HUD [Housing and Urban Development] director, Ben Carson, a couple of times, no doubt because the man is pretty much the only black guy he personally knows, and he was present in the room at the time. Dr. Carson, whose singular qualification for heading up HUD is the fact that he is a home-owner, once said on the campaign trail that he thinks it would be okay to bomb children on general principles. When asked if he would order airstrikes that might kill innocent children by the thousands, he mentioned operating on kids with brain tumors and how they hated it but later on loved him, and finished his comments by saying,”and by the same token, you have to be able to look at the big picture and understand that it’s actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job, rather than death by 1,000 pricks.” So in other words, Ben Carson thinks bombing civilians and children is somehow merciful because it finishes the job quickly. The crowd applauded the twisted fuck for his bedside manner. He later dropped out of the presidential race, but has found a way to be Trump’s token African-American in the administration. Trump’s first nod to Carson in his Black History Month intro is a bit condescending to the black community in general. He said, “I’ve gotten a real glimpse — during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places that I wasn’t so familiar with. They’re incredible people.” They? You mean black people? Those people – are those the ones you aren’t so familiar with? Asshole. Later, Trump told the gathering that part of Carson’s job is working on the inner cities, and that “Ben is going to be doing that big league. It’s one of his big things that we’re going to be looking at.” Then he threatened the “inner cities” with more law enforcement. Where’s Black Lives Matter when you need them? Oh, yeah, they weren’t invited to this Black History Month listening session. “We need safer communities, and we’re going to do that with law enforcement. We’re going to make it safe. We’re going to make it much better than it is right now. Right now it’s terrible [..],” Trump said. After his opening remarks, Trump had everyone in the room introduce themselves to each other. One man, a pastor, commented that some gang leaders from Chicago invited him to work with them on reducing violence in that city and that they wanted to focus on social programs. Studies show that social programs, jobs, and better educational resources are key to reducing city violence, by the way, as opposed to the “stop and frisk” policies and the militarized police forces that Trump endorses. While acknowledging that the pastor working with these gang members might be a good thing, he nonetheless managed to turn that compliment into a threat: “If they’re not going to solve the problem — and what you’re doing is the right thing — then we’re going to solve the problem for them because we’re going to have to do something about Chicago.”
I’m amazed that Trump could find enough blacks to fill in all the seats around that table for his “event”. The man is not interested in the black community, except as a policing problem. The people who attended, however, seemed quite obsequious and happy to be there, however, so what do I know?
Below is the entire transcript, which I copied from the White House website. That way, you know I didn’t just make this shit up as some sort of fake news to make the Dear Leader look stupid. To be entirely honest, I myself did not believe some of the quotes I had read in other sources were accurate; I thought for sure the journalists were mangling the remarks or taking them out of context on purpose. But here it is – no deletions, no alterations – Trump’s Black History Month event:
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. These are a lot of my friends, but you have been so helpful. And we did well. The election, it came out really well. Next time we’ll triple it up or quadruple it, right? We want to get over 51, right? At least 51. [Teri’s note: I’m not sure to what he is referring here. The number of states he won? The percentage of black votes he won? The number of people sitting in the room at that moment?]
Well, this is Black History Month, so this is our little breakfast, our little get-together. Hi, Lynne, how are you?
MS. PATTON: Hi, how are you?
THE PRESIDENT: Nice to see you. And just a few notes. During this month, we honor the tremendous history of the African Americans throughout our country — throughout the world, if you really think about it, right? And their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work and faith in America.
I’ve gotten a real glimpse — during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places that I wasn’t so familiar with. They’re incredible people. And I want to thank Ben Carson, who’s going to be heading up HUD. It’s a big job, and it’s a job that’s not only housing, it’s mind and spirit, right, Ben? And you understand that. Nobody is going to be better than Ben.
Last month, we celebrated the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office, and it turned out that that was fake news. (Laughter.) It was fake news. The statue is cherished. It’s one of the favorite things in the — and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln and we have Jefferson and we have Dr. Martin Luther King, and we have — but they said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is. Very unfortunate.
I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice — Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.
I am proud to honor this heritage, and we’ll be honoring it more and more. The folks at the table in almost all cases have been great friends and supporters. And Darrell — I met Darrell when he was defending me on television. (Laughter.) And the people that were on the other side of the argument didn’t have a chance, right? And Paris has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community. (Laughter.) He’s all by himself — seven people and Paris. So I’ll take Paris over the seven. (Laughter.) But I don’t watch CNN so I don’t get to see you as much as I want to. (Laughter.) I don’t like watching fake news.
PARTICIPANT: None of us watch it either anymore.
THE PRESIDENT: But Fox has treated me very nice — wherever Fox is, thank you.
We’re going to need better schools, and we need them soon. We need more jobs, we need better wages — a lot better wages. We’re going to work very hard on the inner city. Ben is going to be doing that big league. It’s one of his big things that we’re going to be looking at.
We need safer communities, and we’re going to do that with law enforcement. We’re going to make it safe. We’re going to make it much better than it is right now. Right now it’s terrible, and I saw you talking about it the other night, Paris, on something else that was really — you did a fantastic job the other night on a very unrelated show. I’m ready to do my part — it’s the only time I can see him. I’m ready to do my part, and I will say this: We’re going to work together.
This is a great group. This is a group that’s been so special to me. You really helped me a lot. If you remember, I wasn’t going to do well with the African American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting — I won’t go into details, but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years. And now, we’re going to take that to new levels.
I want to thank my television star over here. (Laughter.) Omarosa is actually a very nice person. Nobody knows that, but — (laughter) — I don’t want to destroy her reputation. She is a very good person and she’s been helpful right from the beginning of the campaign. And I appreciate it. I really do. Very special.
And so I want to thank everybody for being here. Could we maybe just go around the room and we’ll introduce ourselves. And the press can stay for that, and I’m sure they have no questions about last night because it was such a good launch. We have a fantastic, hopefully, new justice of the Supreme Court. And hopefully, that will be — he’ll be approved very, very quickly. He’s outstanding in every way — academically. He’s done almost as well as you did, Darrell, in college. (Laughter.) Not quite, right? But he’s a great man and I think he’ll be a great, great justice. And he’s being very well-received. It was a big evening. Very big evening.
So, Paris, why don’t we start with you? Go ahead.
MR. DENNARD: Pleasure to be here, Mr. President. Honor to be here. Paris Dennard. Thurgood Marshall College Fund represents the 47 publically supported historically black colleges and universities, which I know you are very much in support of. So it’s a pleasure to be here, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m glad you’re in support of me because I’d be all — I’d be in the wilderness without you guys. You are so effective. I appreciate it.
MR. DENNARD: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. CLEVELAND: Bill Cleveland. I’m a retired Capitol police officer, former vice mayor of the city of Alexandria, and substitute teacher in the Alexandria school system. Glad to be here.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you.
MR. MATTHEWS: Bill is also a Vietnam veteran, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, good.
MR. MATTHEWS: I’m Earl Matthews, sir. I work for you at the Department of Defense. I was sworn in an hour after you were. Also a veteran and a longtime supporter of yours. I’ve worked for you since late summer. I’m happy to be here.
THE PRESIDENT: Lieutenant Colonel — good job.
MS. SCOTT: I’m Belinda Scott, Darrell’s wife. New Spirit Revival Center from Cleveland, Ohio. Pastor of New Spirit. Great amount of support in the African American community where we are. We love the Lord, we love our new President, and we are praying for our President on a regular basis.
THE PRESIDENT: You know, the one thing I didn’t understand about Belinda — I thought they were married maybe five or six years, because look how they look so young. (Laughter.) Should you say how many years you’ve been married?
MS. SCOTT: Thirty-five.
PASTOR SCOTT: We’ve been together for 38.
MS. SCOTT: Been together for — but in the Lord –(laughter) — 35, yes.
PASTOR SCOTT: Two years under — (inaudible.) (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s actually amazing. I wouldn’t have known.
MS. SCOTT: But can I say this — I am so grateful that our President gives us that ear to listen to the community — to listen. And people like us are just here to constantly put that message out into the community. And we love you for that. We love you for listening and we thank you for that.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much.
PASTOR SCOTT: Darrell Scott, pastor at New Spirit Revival Center and black Trump supporter. (Laughter and applause.) But speaking of the community, let me just say this real quick. Omarosa, I told you I’m going to try to throw it in. I was recently contacted by some of the top gang thugs initiative Chicago for a sit-down. They reached out to me because they associated me with you. They respect you, they believe in what you’re doing, and they want to have a sit-down about lowering that body count. So in a couple of weeks, I’m going into Chicago.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s a great idea because Chicago is totally out of control.
PASTOR SCOTT: Well, I let him know — I said, we’ve got to lower that body count. We don’t want to talk about anything else — get that body count down. And they agreed. But the principle is they can do it. These are guys straight from the streets — no politicians — straight street guys. But they’re going to commit that if they lower that body count, we’ll come in and we’ll do some social programs. So they’re in agreement.
THE PRESIDENT: If they’re not going to solve the problem — and what you’re doing is the right thing — then we’re going to solve the problem for them because we’re going to have to do something about Chicago. Because what’s happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country.
PASTOR SCOTT: But they want to work with this administration.
THE PRESIDENT: Good.
PASTOR SCOTT: They want to. They reached out — I didn’t reach out to them. They reached out to me.
THE PRESIDENT: I understand.
PASTOR SCOTT: They want to work with this administration. They believe in this administration. They didn’t believe in the prior administration. They told me this out of their mouth. But they see hope with you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I love it.
MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. President, I’m a member of what we call the media, but we try to be fair and objective. (Laughter.) Not all media seems to be the opposition party. There are those that see the good that you’re doing. We report it. I’m just honored to have a seat at the table today.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. And it is — I mean, a lot of the media is actually the opposition party. They’re so biased and really is a disgrace. Some of you are fantastic and fair, but so much of the media is opposition party and knowingly saying incorrect things. So it’s a very sad situation. But we seem to be doing well. It’s almost like, in the meantime, we won. So maybe they don’t have the influence they think, but they really are — they really have to straighten out their act. They’re very dishonest people.
PASTOR DAVIS: Pastor James Davis. We’ve been — Mr. President, we’ve been a supporter of yours from the beginning alongside Mr. Michael Cohen and Dr. Darrell Scott with the National Diversity Coalition. It helped to bring out a huge number in the black community with respect to the vote. And we’re still happy to be in support as we go forward.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. You’ve been great. Thank you, James.
MS. PATTON: Hi, Mr. President. Yes, I am, as you know, the former vice president of the wonderful charity that your son founded — Trump Foundation. I’ve been with your family for about eight years now, right, Jared? And I was an RNC speaker and I will be landing with Dr. Carson at HUD as one of his senior advisors —
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, that’s great. You’ve got a good person.
MS. PATTON: — and Director of the Office of Public Liaison.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. You did a fantastic job.
MS. PATTON: Thank you.
MR. ROBINSON: Mr. President, my name is Gerard Robinson. I’m a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and I was proud to be the leader of the education policy team for the Trump transition.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. BELL: Mr. President, good to be with you. I’m Ashley Bell, Gainesville. Chairman Priebus called me out (inaudible) African American outreach for your campaign. I’m glad you support Omarosa, glad to be here, and I’ll be wanting to help you out at the State Department.
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. Thank you. Thank you very much.
MS. MANIGAULT: Tucker was a star at the inauguration.
MR. DAVIS: I’m Tucker Davis. I ran your campaign in West Virginia, working for you in the —
THE PRESIDENT: We did well in West Virginia. (Laughter.)
MR. DAVIS: Coal miners love you.
THE PRESIDENT: And we love the coal miners. We’re going to put them back to work.
MR. DAVIS: Absolutely.
MS. LEVELL: Leah LeVell. I was at the RNC and also at PIC. And I helped launch the video series every week — the midweek message that reached out to millennials and college students and helped launch the college Republican chapter at Howard University.
MS. MANIGAULT: That’s Chris LeVell’s daughter. We snagged her. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, really? Great job.
MS. ALEXANDER: Mr. President, Monica Alexander, executive administrative assistant in the office of public liaison, supporting Omarosa.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay, well, that’s nice.
MR. SMITH: Mr. President, Ja’Ron Smith. I’m with the Domestic Policy Council, Andy Bremberg’s team, and I’ll be focusing on urban affairs and revitalization.
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic.
MS. MANIGAULT: And Howard graduate. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Howard graduate. That’s good stuff. Thank you, everybody. Thank you.