American presidents have a decades-long bipartisan tradition of honoring the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the third Monday of January each year. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a bill to designate the federal holiday as a national day of service. Over the next few years, both as president and as a private citizen, he spent MLK Day volunteering. In 1998, he helped paint the walls at a Washington, D.C., high school and joined AmeriCorps volunteers in painting a senior center in 2001.
President George W. Bush continued this trend by participating in service events, inviting African-American clergy to the White House for lunch and attended church and cultural services honoring King.
Now in 2017, President Trump decides to spend the day golfing. This shouldn’t surprise anybody, considering that Trump has golfed way more frequently than any of his predecessors had at this point in their presidency. After nearly a year of hypocrisy and lies, the fact that Trump ignored his own call for Americans to mark the day with “acts of civic work and community service” should also be expected. And judging by the long history of racism throughout his life, Trump’s disinterest in honoring MLK on his birthday is not the least bit shocking.
Trump didn’t even try to pretend that he was out volunteering or honoring one of the greatest Americans in history. He retweeted a few things, said a few pre-planned words on Friday and then basically treated the day with no respect at all. This ultimately makes sense, seeing as Trump would not want to anger his base of white supremacists by honoring the leader of the civil rights movement. Instead, he chooses to praise known racist Andrew Jackson and attack NFL players for protesting injustice to keep the alt-right happy.
There is no debate surrounding it. By electing to golf on MLK Day instead of honoring the bipartisan tradition of community service, Trump just confirmed what nearly half of the country already knew: the president of the United States is a racist.
Photo: Carlos Barria / Reuters