While MLK Day offers us the opportunity to reflect on the great man’s looming legacy and all he did for Civil Rights and racial justice in this country, it should also be an occasion for taking stock of just how much work we still have left to do as a country if we are ever going to achieve true equality. Nowhere is this reality more clear than in the current president, a virulent racist who has openly flirted with white nationalism on numerous occasions and whose entire political movement is rooted in xenophobia and racial animus. The United States has made progress to be sure, but it’s also the country that voted Donald Trump into office in no small part due to backlash against the first black president.
Republicans continue to deny Trump’s obvious racism and he himself loves to tout Black unemployment numbers as some kind of proof that he’s not a bigot, which is of course ridiculous. Today’s unemployment numbers are an extension of the recovery engineered by President Obama and Democrats in the wake of great recession. Just as with his personal wealth, Trump like to tout as a great accomplishment an economy that he happened to inherit.
Furthermore, job numbers say nothing about Trump’s hateful rhetoric and even less about his personal beliefs about race. In fact, there is an extensive Wikipedia page devoted just to cataloging the “racial views of Donald Trump.” At this point, he has no plausible deniability left on this issue.
Earlier today, Trump penned an MLK Day tweet and it was every bit as asinine as one might expect. The president tried to make the day about himself by pointing out that “exactly three years ago today” he was sworn into office. Absurdly, he added that it is “so appropriate” that Martin Luther King Jr.’s day of honor falls on the third anniversary of his inauguration because “African-American Unemployment is the LOWEST” it’s ever been and the “Poverty, Youth, and Employment” numbers are the “best.”
Ignoring the sheer egomania of the tweet, it’s telling that Trump has literally one positive talking point when it comes to African-Americans. Eight out of ten Black voters believe Trump is racist, according to a new poll, so clearly the unemployment rate is doing nothing to obscure Trump’s racism from voters.
MLK would have hated everything Trump stands for and would have certainly been one of his most vocal and eloquent critics. Invoking his memory in this manner is an utter disgrace and a reminder that there is nothing that this president won’t try to debase.
It was exactly three years ago today, January 20, 2017, that I was sworn into office. So appropriate that today is also MLK jr DAY. African-American Unemployment is the LOWEST in the history of our Country, by far. Also, best Poverty, Youth, and Employment numbers, ever. Great!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2020