While racial tensions may seem higher than ever in the wake of the George Floyd demonstrations, there is a glimmer of hope in the growing number of Americans and American companies that are seeking to better understand racism and racial disparities. Donald Trump isn’t one of them. The fact that he moved his MAGA rally in Tulsa one day from Juneteenth doesn’t do a whole lot to make up for pretty much everything he’s done over the past week alone. The rally is still happening at the site of the worst racist massacre in American history, he’s threatening to keep the country open if a second wave of COVID hits, and he’s acknowledged that the White House won’t even consider taking the names of traitors off American military bases.
He hasn’t even addressed the Lafayette Park protestors since his embarrassment of a photo op. Instead, he’s much more concerned about CNN running polls that make him look bad. Could he possibly do something worse before he’s supposed to address the nation on racial unity? On Fox News Friday night, he managed to do just that, with his eyebrow-raising claim: “I think I’ve done more for the black community than any other president.”
If you thought of the obvious flaw to that statement, he followed it up with “Let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, because he did good. Although, it’s always questionable, the end result…” He was quickly cut off by Harris Faulkner who kept him from actually entertaining on air that the ending of slavery may not have been such a good thing. Yes, it sounds like something we might joke about, but he really did go there.
Unfortunately for Trump, who was making some half-hearted attempt at taking some of the black vote, this sound bite is out there, and the full context doesn’t make him sound much better, with quotes like “I’m going to take a pass on Abe, Honest Abe as we call him.” At best, he sounds like he’s not fully alert in the interview that he stumbles through. It’s safe to say that his upcoming speech won’t do much to unite the country.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making