Wednesday morning, President Trump held a White House event to commemorate the start of Black History Month, giving a speech that involved complaining about the media and a strangely vague description of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of his general election opponent, was not impressed — in fact, she was at a loss for words.
“This…this is…” she tweeted along with a transcript of the full speech.
Clinton didn’t give details on what exactly she didn’t like about the speech, but it might have something to do with the fact that Trump began to pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., but quickly turned to chastising the press instead, saying:
Last month we celebrated the life of Rev. 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. The statue is cherished. It’s one of the favorite things – and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King. And we have other. 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. It’s very unfortunate.
Or perhaps it was when he referred to Frederick Douglass as “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice,” rather than noting any specific accomplishments of one of the most important African-American leaders.
One Twitter user seemed to understand Clinton’s confusion, tweeting back “No words, right? There are no words. Actually, here are some words: from Frederick Douglass.”
He included an excerpt of Douglass’ famous “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro” speech, which reads:
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.